Charlie's Blog: 2023


Corollary To The Grand Unifying Theory

The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.

I have written previously about my Grand Unifying Theory, and there is a corollary to that theory. The definition of a corollary is that it is something that follows naturally from a proposition. With the GUT, you discover what to do and follow. You also discover what you should ignore. That corollary is as important as the theory itself. I will now explain.

You can't know everything. We are swimming in a vast ocean of information and knowledge that is available to us. But if you don't know what you're seeking, it's pointless having all of that information. It doesn't do you any good. Information only becomes valuable when you begin selecting what to ignore.

The best example I can give on this truth is my conversion to Roman Catholicism. I have spent decades reading and seeking after religious and philosophical truth. That seeking represents the survey stage of things. I have been varieties of Protestant, an atheist, and even a devotee for a time to the ancient Stoic philosophy as a coping mechanism. Then, I stumbled into Roman Catholicism. It was the answer I was seeking. It came to me at a similar stage in life as Saint Augustine.

When I became Catholic, I tossed out a lot of books I knew were garbage. Today, I don't waste time reading anything from Protestants. I know to ignore them. Whatever is happening in the world of Protestants holds no interest for me. I can say the same for Buddhism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Hinduism, Islam, and all secular philosophies, sects, religions, or whatever. I don't need to know the wrong answers when I already have the right answer.

There are two basic types of knowledge--the necessary and the trivial. Most knowledge is trivial. You will hear this from high schoolers and college freshmen taking classes they know they will never use in their lives. The argument is that learning Shakespeare, Spanish, and algebra will make you a well rounded person. Most people want to learn what will make them a lot of money. This would be necessary knowledge.

Necessary knowledge is relative to the individual. Home economics is great for someone who wants to be a homemaker but not so much for someone who wants to be a welder. This is why they throw a variety of subjects at you. Each person has to find his or her thing.

Once you have found what is necessary after surveying the options, the next step is to ignore the trivial. This is a hard task. Trivial knowledge can be entertaining and even enlightening. Watching a documentary about the Mongolian Empire won't do much for you in the present, but it is fun to watch. Should you ignore that documentary and others like it? Like I said, this is a hard task.

A better example would be learning an ancient dead language. This requires discipline. Suddenly, without the fun aspect, it becomes easier to decide against learning that language. It is fun reading Sherlock Holmes but not so much fun studying forensic science. I wouldn't study that stuff unless I was working in a crime lab.

Trivial knowledge should be fun. If it isn't fun, then it needs to be necessary. And, if it isn't necessary, it needs to be ignored. This brings us to the Grand Unifying Theory.

The trivial and the necessary exist in the worlds of various disciplines. Today, sword fighting is trivial. People prefer firearms. Learning how to be a samurai in our age would be a waste of time and life. No one needs to be a samurai today. This art has been edited out of our modern society. Samurai arts are interesting trivia, but they are not necessary for modern warfare or self-defense.

In my original post on the Grand Unifying Theory, I used the example of the granny shot from basketball. Once you have settled on that as your free throw strategy, should you also practice the overhand shot? Why would you? You would be a fool to do that. Why abandon or supplement what works?

It would be nice to know everything, but this is impossible. Once you acknowledge this, you come to the inevitable conclusion that knowing what to ignore is more important than knowing everything. Wisdom is not vast intelligence but selective ignorance. You choose what not to know. That takes courage because you have to live with the consequences of those choices. What happens if you run into a samurai with a drawn sword? Hypotheticals like this undermine confidence in selective ignorance. On the other hand, what does the samurai do when he runs into Billy the Kid with a gun in his hand? We can play this game forever.

When it comes to necessary knowledge, you have to choose the probable over the hypothetical. You are unlikely to face Bruce Lee in the street, but you are likely to face a violent untrained thug. Knowing how to deal with that likelihood is a better use of your limited time.

Once you have established what is most probable, you need a strategy for that situation. This brings us to the complex and the simple. Complex strategies tend to fail while simple strategies tend to succeed. Ignore the complex and choose the simple. This is the Grand Unifying Theory. Win at checkers instead of losing at chess.

When it comes to the trivial, it should be fun. When it comes to the necessary, it needs to be simple and to work. Ignore everything else. That is the corollary to the Grand Unifying Theory. It is also my lifestyle. I would like to say I planned it this way, but I didn't. I just learned things that were either necessary or fun for me. It is only now in my analysis that I see what I have always done in my life. I suspect that you, Gentle Reader, have been doing the same thing, too.


Golf Versus Bowling

The bowling alley is the poor man’s country club.

I have never played a game of golf in my life. I have played mini-golf many times with friends and family, but a true golfer will tell you this doesn't count. I went to the driving range once with a friend where I learned that golf is a game of skill, and it was a skill that I did not possess. I also despise golf. It is an expensive game for rich people. My disdain for the game of golf can be explored in full here.

Bowling is a different story. I have lost count of the times I have gone bowling with friends and family. I stopped bowling in the nineties when I injured my wrist. That wrist has never been the same, and it has killed my ability to send a bowling ball down the lane. I have tried, and it was pathetic. This is sad because I think bowling is a great sport and social activity.

I was never a serious bowler. I didn't bowl for a league or spend countless nights working on my game. The reason for this should be obvious. I didn't have the money or the time for that sort of thing. Bowling is relatively cheap in comparison to golf. But it isn't cheaper than walking which is the closest thing I have to a sport now. Walking is free. Bowling is not free.

Bowling is in serious decline today. I call them bowling alleys not bowling centers. Whatever you call them, they are going out of business all over the place. This has caused some people to try and explain the phenomenon such as Robert Putnam in his book, Bowling Alone. Putnam argues that American society has become more individualistic and uses bowling as an indicator of this individualism. People lack a sense of social cohesiveness which is why they don't belong to bowling leagues. This extends to other things like declining membership in civic organizations. I don't buy Putnam's argument.

Sports and games have a certain fad quality about them. Right now, cornhole and pickleball are all the rage. I can't explain their popularity. Then, there is golf. As bowling has declined, golf has grown immensely in popularity. This is odd considering that golf requires massive chunks of real estate that must be maintained to exacting standards. It is an expensive game that is difficult to play. Yet, my mostly rural county has three golf courses. Our one bowling alley closed years ago and has been demolished. Why is this?

Once upon a time, bowling was more popular than professional football. A professional bowler could get rich from the sport. It was a big deal. The decline in bowling began in the 1980s and has fell over a cliff since then. This coincides with the bull market in stocks and the tech boom. People became materially better off, and I think this had an effect on the culture.

Bowling is an activity for blue collar people. The industry is at pains to tell the story that white collar people are into bowling, but I don't see it that way at all. In the popular mind, bowling is something for factory workers and their wives. The culture hates blue collar people. Both political parties hate the working class now. It has never been rougher for people who work for a living. Bowling suffers from this hatred for the working class.

Golf is seen as the sport of the elite. Naturally, people want to be like the elite, so they adopt their game. This includes working class people. I don't know how they afford it, but these working class golfers aspire to be something more than what they are. So, they golf. It's not complicated.

Deer hunting has a similar decline to bowling. This is because deer hunting is seen as a blue collar activity. Fishing has grown in popularity and seems to have escaped the same fate as hunting. This is because rich people fish, too. The choicest real estate in my county is on the lake.

People don't want to be seen as blue collar even if they are blue collar. Putting on a bowling shirt and hitting the lanes pegs you as blue collar. You are a working class stiff who can't afford to play the real game of golf. What was once a fun way to pass the time has become a stigma.

The decline of bowling and the rise of golf is just a symptom of the larger trend of people rejecting the working class and aspiring to join the middle class. As they say, don't dress for the job you have. Dress for the job you hope to get. This is why the young and stupid pile into four year universities instead of trade schools even if it leaves them unemployed and indebted for the rest of their lives. All of this is vanity.

I remember a fellow who worked the scale at a local recycling center. It was a blue collar job. But I noticed he always dressed well in a golf shirt and was keen on playing golf. The recycling place would call the cops on him later and fire him for theft and embezzlement. This was an ironic but not surprising end. This guy wanted to be a big shot instead of a nobody. Golf was part of the package. Theft was how he financed this.

I am terrible at making predictions, but I can guess at the future of bowling. As the economy sours, people desperate for work will turn once again to blue collar trades and jobs. When this happens, they will accept their status as working class people and drop all vanity. Golf will decline, and bowling will see a resurgence in popularity. I see this possible future as a good thing. This country has had it too good for too long. We are a nation of vain and stupid people.


Unpopular Opinions 5 (Super Size Edition)

I don't care what you think unless it is about me.

Once again, I am here to air unpopular opinions that are probably more popular than I realize. I don't do polls on the C-Blog or use comboxes, so I don't know. But these unpopular opinions do get read. I think people enjoy getting ticked off. With that mind, I am serving a double portion with this edition. On with the show.

1. Classification of people into categories is stupid.

I find the categories of introvert and extrovert to be useful in describing people. That is as far as it goes for me. If it isn't binary in form, I don't care. This would be something like the four temperaments, the alpha/beta/delta male thing, the Myers-Briggs personality test, astrology, and on and on. The ugly truth is that there are as many categories as there are people in the world. As such, these categories are worthless for knowing anything about anyone.

2. Air popper popcorn is the best.

I've tried all the methods for making popcorn. Stove top popcorn is pretty good until you scorch the bottom of the pan. Those dome globe oil poppers are too oily. Microwave popcorn is either undercooked or something that came out of an ashtray. That leaves the air popper. Popcorn comes out perfect from that thing. It is worth the money to get one. And you can season the final product to your specifications.

3. Fitness trackers are not accurate.

I do not use the FitBit, the smartwatch, or any kind of pedometer when I walk. I just time myself with a Casio digital watch. The reason I don't use these fitness trackers is because they are not accurate. You discover this when you wear two or more at the same time. They can be as different from each other as 400 steps. One guy said that his Apple Watch counted steps while he was asleep. I think this makes the information worthless.

Defenders of these gadgets will claim they just want a rough estimate of their step counts. Nevermind their obsessive-compulsive disorder over getting in those exact number of steps each day. I already have my rough estimate. It's called a watch. To hell with those fitness trackers.

4. Sudoku is a terrible puzzle.

I have played sudoku. It is pleasant to play on the easy levels. When the levels become hard, sudoku drives you to insanity.

I do puzzles and games for my brain injury, and I used to think harder puzzles were better for my TBI. The reality is that I do dumb stuff in my daily life that deals not with the complex but the elementary. It's like a Harvard trained doctor who amputates the wrong leg. He doesn't need to go back to medical school. He needs a Sharpie marker to mark the right leg. (My eye doctor did this before operating on my eyes. He put a harsh mark over the eye he was going to work on.)

Instead of playing sudoku or crossword puzzles, I do word finds which are incredibly boring and easy puzzles. This forces me to pay attention which is my issue. Most mistakes happen when people stop paying attention to the boring details.

5. Mechanical pencils are better than wooden pencils.

I have used both, and I prefer clicking the mechanical pencil to get more lead than putting a sharpener to the wooden pencil. Plus, the mechanical pencil stays the same length. It is torture writing with one of those pencil stubs.

6. Home speakers are awful.

I have never owned one of those Alexa things. You might as well live in a glass house naked with no curtains. I know people want to live like the Jetsons, but I am not one of those people. I am with the Flintstones. I don't want my appliances spying on me or talking back to me.

7. Alcohol is the devil's urine.

I do not drink alcohol. I have gone back and forth on this issue, and I am back to being a Baptist on drinking even though I am Roman Catholic. Jordan Peterson is right. What good ever came from drinking? When I want to be social, I drink strong coffee. It isn't worth talking to people who don't like coffee.

8. Ice cream cups are better than ice cream cones.

I don't eat ice cream except the non-dairy kind. When I do, I always eat it in a bowl or cup with a spoon. I never eat it from a cone. Ice cream cones are just invitations to sticky hands, arms, shirts, pants, etc. And if you like the taste of the cone itself, you can just crumble it into the cup or bowl. The world would be a better place without ice cream cones.

9. Eat a sandwich with a knife and a fork.

I am a convert on this issue. I will use my hands to eat a sandwich on the go, but I find it more pleasant to use a knife and a fork at a table to eat a sandwich. There is less mess and crumbs. My wife loves me a little bit more since I started doing this.

10. Armchair traveling beats the real thing.

My old man told me once that he preferred watching NASCAR on television than going to the track itself. Likewise, I would rather watch people traveling to exotic places on YouTube than going there in person. Before YouTube, I liked reading travel books and still like them now. I have traveled the world from the comfort of my chair at home. The only downside to armchair traveling is that you can't indulge the vanity of taking selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower and posting them to social media.

11. Memento is a terrible movie.

Somewhere in this film, there is a good story. Unfortunately, Christopher Nolan buried it in a gimmick. Using non-linear storytelling, Nolan tells a fascinating but ultimately unsatisfying story because you never know what happened even after you've watched it. If I need a puzzle, I will get out a Rubik's Cube.

Nolan was an idiot on this one. He would revisit this idiocy in Inception and Tenet. Those movies are horrible, too.

12. The Rolling Stones were better than the Beatles.

This one will get me a rainstorm of fire and brimstone from the Beatles fans, but I stop whatever I am doing to listen to a Stones hit. I can't say the same for a Beatles song. The reason the Stones were so good is because they tapped into blues music which is the best type of rock and roll that exists. You can never go wrong with the blues.

As for the greatest rock band ever, this would be Led Zeppelin. But that would be a popular opinion. We gotta stick with the unpopular opinions here.

13. Klean Kanteen is better than Hydro Flask.

Yes, I know. It's a water bottle. I would drink out of either one if I was thirsty. But Klean Kanteen was there before Hydro Flask. The only thing Hydro Flask brought to the water bottle game was a logo and slick marketing. I hate marketing which is why I prefer Klean Kanteen. I own four of those KK bottles. I own nothing from Hydro Flask.

14. New Balance is better than Nike.

I have worn both brands, and I have decided on the clear winner. This would be New Balance. I have been satisfied with every pair of New Balances I have owned. I cannot say the same for Nike. Nike is a gimmick and some slick marketing masquerading as a quality shoe.

15. Casio is better than Timex.

Timex is better looking, but Casio is cheap and works. I have worn both, and I like Casio watches better. I own four Casio watches now that I use depending upon the situation. I can own four because they cost so little.

16. Boonie hats are the best.

It is easy to get away with wearing a baseball cap. It is not so easy to do the same with a fedora or a cowboy hat. For some reason, you feel more ridiculous when you wear a serious hat. Enter the boonie hat.

The boonie hat is a floppy brimmed hat that looks a bit ridiculous. The irony is that you don't feel ridiculous wearing it. I can't say the same for any other brimmed hat. The boonie hat is a totally utilitarian hat meant to kept the sun off of you and the rain out of your face. I think boonie hats are the best hats ever made. They are the perfect hat for working in the yard, the garden, or going for walks or long hikes. I can't recommend them enough.

17. Chopsticks are garbage. Use a fork or a spoon.

I have used chopsticks before until it hit me one day that this was stupid. I hate chopsticks. Why do I bother using these worthless things? That's easy. People use those chopsticks to look hip and sophisticated in some multicultural way. The reality is that forks and spoons are the superior implements for eating. I am not going to apologize for this.

18. Dunkin' Donuts is better than Starbucks.

Starbucks is overpriced hot water filtered through an ashtray. I go blue collar when I drink coffee away from home and head to Dunkin' Donuts. Starbucks is a lifestyle brand masquerading as coffee. It isn't my lifestyle, so I can tell it like it is. Dunkin' is cheaper and tastes better. I also like the atmosphere at the Dunk. Starbucks is too serious for me.

19. A quiet evening at home beats a night on the town.

Because of drunk drivers and the criminal element, I don't go out at night. I don't go to the movie theater or any restaurants. I definitely don't go to taverns or bars. My idea of a good time is dinner at home and a DVD with the wife. This is our weekly date night, and we love it. (We get our DVDs used from the thrift store for $1.50 apiece.)

20. Quality of life is better than quantity of life.

I walk daily and eat a plant based diet, but I don't delude myself with fantasies of living to be 100. You can die at any moment, and I came close to doing that already. At that moment, I didn't think about all my good health habits.

I focus on quality of life instead of quantity of life. Eating right and exercising makes me feel good today. I don't overdo it because then you feel bad instead of good. If I wake up one day older, that's OK. Each day could be the last. Make that day a good day.

You are probably ticked off good and hard now. Or, maybe not. Perhaps it is a mixed bag of love and hate. Whatever it is, thanks for reading. I do get the view counts, and they are always good.

UPDATE: A reader shares that he thinks the Whirley Pop is a great popcorn popper. It cooks most of the popcorn and doesn't burn the corn. The air popper that I use doesn't burn the corn, but it leaves a lot of unpopped kernels.


The Charity of Many Shall Grow Cold

And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.

I wish that everyone in the world could experience a traumatic brain injury. I wish everyone would have their brains smashed up. I do not wish evil on anyone. I just wish people weren't so evil. What makes these people so evil is the naive and deluded belief that nothing bad will ever happen to them. Bad things only happen to other people, and they probably deserved those things. What is missing from these people and from the world is charity. Their hearts are cold and indifferent.

I am a traumatic brain injury survivor. I live every day of my life trying to recover from the damage that a profoundly idiotic driver put on me almost five years ago as of this writing. That idiot doesn't care that he did this to me. He lives his life secure once more in the illusion that bad things only happen to other people. Nothing bad will ever touch him and his awesome life.

He is not alone in this delusion. You, Gentle Reader, probably share the same sick delusion. You probably read about crime victims and crash victims and cancer victims and think that only other people die. I will never die. I will never suffer. You are a fool if you think this.

People who have suffered have something that the rest of you do not have. They have compassion. They do not live under the delusion that bad things only happen to other people. They happen to everybody. Your turn is coming if it hasn't come already.

I have never had this delusion. I have known my turn was coming ever since I was a child and lost two of my cousins in a plane crash. I cannot remember their ages now, but they were probably five and seven. I think I was six at the time. I received my cousin's bike, and I never rode that bike without being reminded of his death. I was sorry that happened to him. I just knew the same could and would happen to me. Every person dies. Living right will never change this.

Since my injury, I have tasted the indifference and ignorance of so many people. I do not seek pity or even sympathy. I waste no time on feeling sorry for myself, so I don't need others to feel sorry for me. What I can do without is that profound stupidity that comes from that delusion that Job's false comforters possessed. This is terrible for you, but this is never going to happen to me. What utter fools.

It is better to suffer evil than to be evil. I have brain damage, but I have more sense than the imbecile that did this to me. I would never trade places with him. It is a tragedy to be that damn stupid.

I have done stupid things in my life. Suffering has delivered me from my stupidity. I cannot prevent suffering, but I do ask that it not come from my hand. I never want to live with that kind of guilt. Even in this, I know that a mistake on my part could hurt someone. That could happen to me, too.

I remember a fellow that drove drunk and put his brother in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He caused his brother to become a quadriplegic. This caused so much guilt in the brother who was uninjured that he was driven to suicide. That tragedy tears into my soul. I could have been either one of them. What happened to them could also happen to me.

The final thought is that there are people who have suffered, but it makes them bitter. They extinguish all charity from their own hearts and become the evil. This is usually the backstory of some comic book super villain, but it happens in real life, too. People who turn to Marxism have this trait. Because they didn't get the same breaks as the rich kids, they want to equalize the misery of all people except for themselves. The sick thing is that they disguise this as charity. It isn't. As for the rich kids, they live under the delusion that poverty only happens to other people and not to them.

Charity comes when we learn to love others as ourselves. The first step in that process is to see our shared humanity. When we think that bad things only happen to other people, it breaks the bond of that shared humanity. When we suffer, we find that shared humanity again. When I was in the brain rehab, I met a fellow who was more profoundly damaged than me. He was tasked with making a pot of coffee in the kitchen as part of his therapy. He gave me a cup of that coffee and asked me how it was. I was dying for a cup of java at that moment, and I told him sincerely that it was the best cup of coffee I had ever tasted in my life. And, it was. I appreciated what he must have gone through to make that coffee. When I returned home, I tried to make coffee myself. I did everything right except put water in the empty kettle that was cooking on the stove. I had compassion for that fellow in the brain clinic, but I also realized something else. That fellow was me. What had happened to him also happened to me.



Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

It is important to know what you want out of life. You need to know what you want, so you can stop pursuing it once you have it. Too many people don't know what they want in life and keep going past the thing they should want. They are dissatisfied because they have no clue that they have arrived. This is because they do not know their destination in life.

I used to think that people's desires for their lives were relative. I do not believe this anymore. I think we are hardwired with an innate desire for the same fundamental thing. People want a quiet life in a simple home with a loving family. When people want something other than this, someone has convinced them, or they have convinced themselves to settle for some sick substitute. No substitute will satisfy.

Once someone accepts the quiet life as their destination, they do not always get there. Things happen in life that serve as detours from the path towards this destination. This is tragic, but it does not change the destination. This is not the worst thing that can happen to someone.

The worst thing that can happen to someone is to arrive at that destination and not realize it or recognize it for what it is. Happiness eludes people in this life because they did not have the presence of mind to realize that they had arrived. This realization usually comes after they have squandered their blessing. That is really dumb.

There is nothing better in this world than a quiet and simple life. All other desires in the heart will have to be satisfied in the life after this one. But when it comes to life under the sun, the quiet life cannot be beaten. Anything else is a counterfeit of this precious thing. Don't let anyone deprive you of it or talk you out of it. Be grateful to God that He brought you to this destination in life.


Unpopular Opinions 4 (Catholic Edition)

You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you can't control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.

This edition of Unpopular Opinions can be subtitled "Catholic Edition" as it pertains to Catholic subjects. It would probably be better to not have an opinion on these things since your opinions count for nothing in the Church of Rome. Yet, I think writing them and publishing them will find people that agree with me on these things.

1. I do not believe in the limbo of the infants.

This puts me in conflict with Augustine and Aquinas but not the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church which says nothing definitive either way on the matter. I am free to believe or not believe in the limbo of the infants. Here's why I do not believe in limbo.

Virtually no Catholic theologian believes that unbaptized infants who die in infancy go to Hell. Why? The reason is obvious. It strikes us as cruel that God would let this happen. Now, if we can dismiss Hell as their final destination on these grounds, why can't we dismiss Limbo as well? There is no logic that necessitates Limbo except the belief in the requirement of baptism for salvation. Yet, we have plenty of Old Testament saints who received no baptism. You can see where I am going here.

For me, it isn't a question of logic. It is a question of math. Heaven is expected to be populated by a vast number of souls according to the Bible. Yet, where are these souls going to come from since we must also admit that only the few are saved? Most people including most Catholics are going to Hell. This leaves us with the population of Limbo if it exists.

If Limbo exists, the number of souls there outnumber the population of souls in both Heaven and Hell combined. Think about it. Consider all the children who die by miscarriage, abortion, abortifacients like the pill and IUD, and post-birth complications and diseases. We are talking about billions since Adam and Eve. Yet, if they are in Heaven, then the souls there truly are uncountable.

I suspect that God leaves the fate of dead infants a mystery because of the moral hazard it would create if we knew their final destiny. Abortion would become an act of love instead of murder to a lot of desperate women. It is better that it remain a mystery for the end of time. What God has hidden, He has hidden for good reasons.

On a sidenote, I remember watching an episode of Mother Angelica where she said that she did not believe in Limbo. She believed that all infants went to Heaven. I do not know if this was always her opinion. I could also be misremembering that episode. You can leave a correction for me in the combox except I do not have a combox.

2. I do not believe that the canonization of saints is infallible.

This is another one of those things that puts me in conflict with Aquinas. Yet, one only has to look at recent canonizations to conclude that there is error in the process. Josemaria Escriva was a cult leader who bragged about his canonization before he died. And his devoted cult made it happen for him. This would be made easier by the reduced requirements for miracles and the elimination of the Devil's Advocate.

Pope Francis canonized John Paul II only to throw him under the bus later for sex abuse scandals. JP2 allowed sacrilege when he permitted a Buddhist idol to be placed above the tabernacle. This is the same man who could not tolerate Archbishop Lefebvre for his orthodoxy. But he could tolerate Marcial Maciel, the perverted founder of the Legionaries of Christ. Money and obedience to Vatican II have a strange way of buying papal favor.

When it comes to Paul VI, John XXIII, and Oscar Romero, their heroic virtues are nothing more than being loved by the modernist Marxist sodomite scumbags running things in the Vatican. Francis canonized these guys because it was on the wish list. The canonization of JP2 was just a way to appease the semi-modernist critics who would object to the canonization of these other modernists.

Canonization of saints today is more political than spiritual. This is why the canonization of more conservative candidates like Fulton Sheen have been stymied. The process is utterly corrupt now and hasn't been helped one bit by the lowered standards of canonization.

This will probably trouble some of the faithful, but it shouldn't. It says nowhere in the Magisterium that the canonization of saints is infallible. Infallibility only applies to those things taught since the apostles. The canonization of a particular saint is not one of those things. As for Aquinas, this man did not believe in the Immaculate Conception. He is not infallible.

Finally, any candidate who wouldn't survive a thorough examination by a Devil's Advocate is suspect in my book. This inability to survive that examination is why they eliminated the Devil's Advocate from the process.

3. I believe the Douay-Rheims is the superior English translation of the Holy Bible.

There are other good translations and other dreadful translations. The original is still the best. There is no translation without interpretation, so it makes no sense for Catholics to use Protestant translations. Use the Catholic translation. Use the Douay-Rheims.

4. I only subscribe to officially approved Marian apparitions.

I think Medjugorje is a fraud. I can't comment on things like Garabandal except to say it lacks official approval. I don't waste my time with it. Is it possible that some Marian apparitions are legitimate but unapproved? I think so. But I'm not going to go there. At some point, the Church has to provide for us. This is one of those times.

5. I think the charismatic renewal in the Roman Catholic Church is fake.

A lot of Protestant garbage backwashes into the Catholic Church, and I think this charismatic renewal stuff is one of those things. I think all of it is fake. In the early days of the Church, these manifestations of the Holy Spirit gave evidence to this new thing in the world that we know now as the Roman Catholic Church. By the end of the first century and Saint John's Apocalypse, these charismatic gifts vanished. Some people today do tongue tricks that are in no discernible language. I am calling bravo sierra on this.

6. Archbishop Lefebvre should have submitted to Rome and not consecrated those bishops of the SSPX.

Lefebvre was a good man and probably a saint. JP2 and the rest of the semi-modernists were not good men, and they were trying to run out the clock on Lefebvre. Lefebvre lost his patience with these games and went forward with the illicit consecrations. That was a mistake. That's all I can say on that.

The right response IMHO was to exercise patience and leave it up to God. I don't think this is hard because this is what I have to do every day as a Roman Catholic living with the Vatican II dumpster fire. The consequence of Lefebvre's actions was not to preserve his movement but to splinter it. The one good thing that came out of it was the FSSP. As for the SSPX, they have been doing things their way for so long that I doubt they will ever return to submission even if they got everything they demand. Organizations have a tendency to move from advocacy to self-preservation, and I don't think the SSPX is immune to this tendency. Lefebvre was the first one to succumb to this tendency.

7. The TLM will not save the Church.

It is my desire to see the Traditional Latin Mass return to Roman Catholic parishes. I do not think it will save the Church from its present crisis. This is because this crisis began when we still had the TLM. The Novus Ordo is the symptom and not the cause of the disease which is modernism. Bringing back the TLM without addressing this disease amounts to putting a band-aid on cancer.

8. You shouldn't have children you can't afford.

Catholics in general and Trad Catholics in particular are known for having large families. This begs the obvious question. How do they afford all of those children?

I know some families are agrarian where children are a resource on the farm. I am totally in favor of this. But how do they afford the birth and subsequent healthcare bills? I know others who serve in the military or have government jobs with Cadillac health benefits. But for the vast majority of people, one child is a financial hardship. Two is devastation. Even millionaire Catholics struggle with these expenses. As for a problem pregnancy or birth, that will bankrupt you.

Once upon a time, healthcare was cheap. Then, the government got involved and ruined it. Once upon a time, the Catholic Church owned and ran hospitals as a charity. They helped Catholic families with the birth of their children. That is over with now. The Church is a joke on these things. They tell you to have children, but don't lift a finger to help you with the burden. Just make sure to keep paying for the cost of the recreational sex of all those dirty sodomite priests and bishops.

So, what about the rest of faithful Catholics? Here is John Zmirak on the issue:

There were working-class people who accepted the discipline of remaining open to life, or the ascetical practice of Natural Family Planning – and there were “white trash” Catholics who used the Church’s teaching as a pretext for going on public assistance. (A shocking number of self-consciously orthodox Catholics whom I have encountered, most of them graduates of small, fervently Catholic colleges, take advantage of food stamps and Medicaid, while patting themselves on the back for being “counter-cultural” at their neighbors’ expense.) 

The Shame of the Catholic Subculture

If you are supporting your large family on public assistance, you are one of those white trash Catholics that John Zmirak is talking about here. I think this is shameful and disgraceful. That leaves Natural Family Planning.

Catholics are forbidden to use artificial contraception or get an abortion. Instead, the Church advocates Natural Family Planning which is open to life. NFP is to be used when there is sufficient reason for it. Not being able to afford to have children is one of those reasons. This is everyone who isn't on the dole or isn't a lottery winner.

Trads condemn NFP as contraception. These people are idiots. Would they condemn it if they were cut off from receiving welfare? And that, Gentle Reader, is the dirty secret of traditional Catholicism. They have children they can't afford and make you pay for them with your tax dollars while condemning you for not having children. Sickening, isn't it?

9. Catholic schools are no better than public schools.

It is no secret that the public schools are in bad shape. They don't educate anymore. They indoctrinate in Marxism and perversion. And you pay for these schools whether you like them or not.

A Catholic school seems like a better choice than the public school, but it isn't. Nuns don't teach school anymore. Most nuns are lesbians with butch haircuts now. Do you want them teaching your kids? This leaves laypeople including many who are not even Catholic. They expect to be paid for teaching which drives up the cost of that Catholic school. Did I mention some of them are gay and openly flout Catholic teaching? The fact is that Catholic education is as woke as the public school system.

The only option for Catholic parents is homeschooling. Protestants are ahead of the curve on this. Aside from materials, homeschooling is free and superior. Catholic schools are dead now.

10. I will always choose my Novus Ordo parish over an SSPX chapel.

I have no antipathy towards the SSPX. As for their status in the Church, it is irregular. That's all I can say on it, and that is all that I need to say. My Novus Ordo parish is legitimate. I think the liturgy is terrible, but it is the Roman Catholic Church. I don't have to think about it or debate it, so I won't.

I see it like a man with a bad wife. She may be terrible, but he is in it until death parts them. That's my attitude with the Church. I am in it forever. The Church has problems with the SSPX. Why complicate my life with it?

If my parish offered the TLM, I would attend it. If the FSSP was in my town, I would attend there. I can't say the same for the SSPX. Maybe I will someday when things change. Until then, I attend the Novus Ordo and cringe. I pray that God will end it.

That's it for Catholic Unpopular Opinions. These things are like lit matches dropped in gasoline. I have more unpopular opinions like these, but I will move on to more mundane fair in the fifth edition. And, if you disagree with anything I have written here, that's your problem. I already have my problems to live with.


Make Your Own Sandwich

A generation ago, three-quarters of the money used to buy food in the United States was spent to prepare meals at home. Today about half of the money used to buy food is spent at restaurants, mainly at fast food restaurants.

People eat fast food because they think it is cheap, convenient, and tasty. Fast food is none of these things. They sold this lie to the American people, and they continue to sell it. I am urging you, Gentle Reader, to stop buying this lie. I am telling you to make your own sandwich.

Before we had fast food, we had this invention credited to the Earl of Sandwich where he put some meat between two slices of bread, so he wouldn't have to leave the card table. The Earl probably didn't invent it originally, but he ended up giving the invention its name. Regardless, this man changed the world more than Edison or the Wright Brothers.

The sandwich is the original fast food. As long as you have bread and a choice of ingredients, you can make a sandwich in just minutes. In fact, you can probably make a sandwich and eat it in the time it takes for you to wait in line at some fast food place, place your order, pay for your order, and wait to receive your order. Nine times out of ten, the food you order will be some version of a sandwich except they made it instead of you. This whole ritual is incredibly wasteful and stupid.

The first thing we are going to dispense with is the idea that paying someone else to make your sandwich is cheaper than making it yourself. It isn't. You can buy a loaf of bread and all of the ingredients for a fraction of the price of the fast food meal. It is always cheaper to buy your food from your local grocery store and make it yourself.

The second thing is the convenience argument. Fast food is not convenient. It takes my wife and me less than an hour to buy a week's worth of groceries. If you add in the drive there and back, it takes less than two hours. Now, if you factor the time to get fast food, one meal can cost up to an hour of your life. As for the preparation, the time is the same. I can make the same sandwich in the same time as the guy at the sub shop. The bottom line is that fast food is not fast. It is slow and eats time.

The third thing is the taste factor. Eating a fatty greasy burger with a side of fries and a gallon of soft drink tastes better than eating a tomato sandwich with some pretzels and washing it down with a bottle of water. This is because fast food is comprised of the three magic ingredients of sugar, salt, and fat. A healthy sandwich will never be able to compete with an unhealthy fast food meal. Now, if you choose healthier options from these places, you find they taste worse than what you would make at home. I discovered this when I began eating a plant based diet.

People eat fast food because they are addicted to eating unhealthy crap. This addiction is what drives them to spend all that time and money to get their daily fix. I know because I was addicted to that crap. I regret the waste of money, time, and damage to my health.

Here are some tips for making your own sandwich:

1. Get a lunchbox.

It can be a brown paper sack or some other container. I use a $20 personal igloo cooler I bought from Big Lots. I put blue ice packets in there to keep food cold. Then, I make my sandwiches and toss them in there along with a ziploc bag of pretzels, a banana, and a water bottle. That lunchbox allowed me to fire McDonald's a decade ago.

2. Get up early and make your lunch.

It takes about ten minutes to pack a lunchbox. This is less than the time you will spend waiting for someone else to make your lunch.

3. Get a Kleen Kanteen water bottle.

There are other brands of water bottle, but I am still using my Kleen Kanteens from a decade ago. They have paid for themselves. Kick that soda habit. Your kidneys will thank you. As for coffee, I recommend an old school Stanley thermos. Those things are indestructible. Make your own coffee instead of buying Starbucks.


If you follow the advice I have given here, you will have more money in your pocket and improved health. But I already know that you are not going to do this. The fast food industry knows this, too. You will never go broke feeding people's addictions and vices.


Why They Do It

Not everybody is going to run a marathon or do a triathlon. It's not necessary to do that to be in good health.

I never thought the day would come when I would be using a quotation from Michelle Obama in this space. But when you are right, you are right. You don't have to run a marathon or an ultramarathon or a triathlon or any other sufferfest to be healthy. In fact, you will probably be healthier if you don't. This leaves a question. Why do they do it?

When asked why he wanted to climb Everest, mountaineer George Mallory famously quipped, "Because it's there." The line was probably uttered in exasperation at the question, but it has since taken on this mythic quality of philosophy and Zen mentality. People who compete in extreme endurance events like the Ironman Triathlon probably have the same exasperation and the same answer. They do it because it is there. Unfortunately, this answer is garbage. It is a deflection from the real answer.

The real answer for why these people do these things is because they are typically white collar people with a sneaking suspicion that what they do for a living is a con job on themselves and the public. As this article in Outside puts it, “By flooding the consciousness with gnawing unpleasantness, pain provides a temporary relief from the burdens of self-awareness.” These people seek out pain to the point of kidney failure. What would provoke such masochism?

The article offers the argument that white collar participation in endurance sports is prevalent because of the costs involved and the time. You need free time and money to do these sports which blue collar people don't seem to have. This simply isn't true. Blue collar people manage to pay for boats, hunting rifles, and golf clubs. They also have as much or more leisure time than white collar professionals. This is a nonsensical argument.

The real question is this. Why do blue collar people tend to not do extreme endurance events? That answer should be obvious. Their lives are endurance events. Go work on a landscaping crew or become a lineman for the electric utility. Most blue collar jobs require a level of physicality, endurance, and tolerance for pain that is completely missing from white collar jobs. When a blue collar worker gets off work, he isn't looking to do a century ride on his bicycle. He is looking for a cold beer.

White collar jobs are easy. Sitting in an office all day makes you flabby and unhealthy. The farmer doesn't have this problem. This is why the office worker has to hit the gym to stay healthy. A large health insurer in my state has an impressive health and wellness center in their complex. You will also see many of the employees walking laps in the parking lot after work. This exercise makes up for what these jobs lack in comparison to blue collar jobs. This is also all you need to stay healthy as Michelle Obama pointed out.

The endurance sports are not filling a physical need but a psychological need for these people. You could say they want to feel a sense of achievement except this argument is nonsense. The vast majority of non-professional athletes have no chance at winning these races. They compete mostly to just finish these things. Additionally, you should feel some sense of achievement in your profession unless your profession is nothing more than being an economic parasite.

What these white collar people want is the feeling that blue collar workers feel every day of their lives. The obvious answer would be to quit the white collar job and become a welder or something else gritty. But this would mean the loss of income and status. It's just easier to pay out some dough, train minimally after work, and do an Ironman one Saturday. The problem is there is nothing socially redeeming in this path. These things are done out of penance for their professional sins. They probably have no idea that they are doing this for this reason because that would require self-awareness which these people typically lack.

I think this masochism is stupid especially if you participate to the point of organ failure. There is no virtue in that insanity whatsoever. A better strategy would be to fire the lawn service and cut your own grass each weekend. Fire the maid and clean your own house. Wash your own car and change your own oil. Go pick up trash on the highway for the litter campaign. Make your life a bit harder than it is now.

The sickest part of this madness is that these people actually believe they are better than the rest of us because of their endurance sports. There is a quiet dignity in being a blue collar worker. You feel each day that you did something hard and tangible that contributed to the world. These endurance clowns prance around in Speedos and put their numbers in their training logs online. It takes a high level of effeminacy to do that sort of thing.

Endurance sports and events for the hoi polloi are a vanity for people lacking self-awareness and a gnawing suspicion that what they contribute to the world is ultimately worthless. That is the bottom line. I doubt these white collar types will ever find that self-awareness.


Unpopular Opinions 3

Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible, and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.

Like an overdone movie franchise, here is the third installment of Unpopular Opinions. Hopefully, it will be better received than Jaws 3.

1. I read Lord of the Rings. I will not read it again. It is an overrated book.

I don't like the fantasy genre of fiction or films. LOTR is one of those things that is required reading for Catholics because Tolkien was a Catholic and put those themes in his book. LOTR is to literature what King Crimson is to rock and roll. It is something good overdone to the point of being bad. Nerds like this sort of stuff, but I am not a nerd. I endured reading LOTR just to say I did it and assure to myself that I could have gone my whole life not reading this thing with no ill effect.

2. Radiohead makes awful music.

Radiohead takes an awesome three minute pop song and turns it into a pretentious load of progressive rock garbage. All their songs are flashes of brilliance encrusted into noise and whiny lyrics. I have wanted to like this band, but I can't.

3. Caving/spelunking is a dangerous and stupid activity.

In November 2009, John Edward Jones went caving into the Nutty Putty Cave. He is still in there. The guy got trapped, and they could not remove him even after he died. That cave is now his tomb. The cause of death was being an idiot. Don't go caving. Caving is dangerous and stupid.

4. Meditation and mindfulness are garbage.

Meditation has been shown to be no more beneficial than taking a nap during the same time period. So, why does meditation have such buzz? As always, marketing! You need coaches and instructors to meditate properly. You just need a bed or couch to take a nap. Mike Lindell from MyPillow has done more for people than any meditation guru or smartphone app. Plus, meditation opens you to the demonic. Leave this crap to the New Age heretics.

5. Cryptocurrency is crap.

A bunch of people have made or are making a ton of money from trading cryptocurrency. Once upon a time, people did the same thing with tulip bulbs and beanie babies. These things had no intrinsic value. Yet, the mania whipped these things into bubbles that made some fabulously rich before making many others fabulously broke. Cryptocurrency is in that same category. As for paper money, most folks trade their bitcoins for dollars at some point. The same applies with gold. When you can buy a Big Mac with crypto or a gold coin, then you have something. As a long term store for wealth, gold beats crypto.

6. I hate the term "side hustle."

A side hustle is a second job which you take because your day job isn't paying enough for you and your family. Calling this second job a side hustle is just a spin job to make a negative sound like a positive.  Our nation has gone from one earner to two earners to two earners with side hustles. Meanwhile, the credit card debt goes up. The reality is that the middle class is over. You are the working class. Instead of calling it a side hustle, cut up those credit cards and live a simpler lifestyle.

7. I hate everything Robin Williams did in life including killing himself.

I never thought Robin Williams was funny. Improv comedy is the worst. It is the comedy equivalent of jazz which I also hate. Good comedy requires thought which means writing good jokes not spazzing out for five minutes. As for suicide, no one should do that. This includes bad comedians.

8. Running is bad for your knees, but no one will come out and say it.

"It's complicated," they say when asked. You can't get a straight answer, but you get advice on proper footwear, proper form, getting sleep, taking rest days, and blah blah blah. I'll give you my anecdotal evidence. When I ran, my knees hurt. I walk now. My knees don't hurt. They actually feel better. Give up running and go for a walk. Your aging knees will thank you.

9. I don't listen to or collect vinyl records because vinyl is a terrible format for music.

I buy CDs instead of vinyl. CDs are awesome. Vinyl records are not. I am old school because I don't listen to mp3 music on a smartphone or buy the music in that format. I also do not pay for streaming. I am very happy listening to CDs. Vinyl is just something that gets scratched too easily. I have never liked vinyl.

10. I hate athletic wear and athleisure wear.

When I go for walks or exercise, I wear work clothes. I sweat in those things already, so I don't see the point in having an entire other outfit of a T-shirt and shorts to sweat in. I am comfortable wearing work clothes. I don't feel comfortable in athletic wear. I also don't understand the athleisure trend where people dress all day long like they are headed to the gym or headed home from the gym.

This completes my trilogy of unpopular opinions. I can tell you now that I still have more opinions in the tank. Stay tuned for the fourth installment.



Sometimes losing a pet is more painful than losing a human because in the case of the pet, you were not pretending to love it.

I know people who have grieved more over the pets they have lost than over the people they have lost. I am not one of those people. I love animals. For some odd reason, not eating meat has made me love them even more. I have owned pets, but I do not own any now. This is because I can't afford pets.

I can't say that I am for or against pet ownership. It is not so much the pet as the person. I think a seeing eye dog is good for a blind person. I despise the idiot boomers who bring their "emotional support animals" to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I wish I was making that up, but I have gone to Mass and seen people in the pews with dogs in their laps. It just boggles the mind.

I know an old lady in very poor health and little money. Yet, she adopted a blind dog from the animal shelter she cannot afford to feed or look after. Her family was not happy with this decision knowing that the animal's care would inevitably fall on them. And, it has. Without a doubt, the dog is a joy to its owner, but I think it is an injustice to the family and to the dog itself.

I despise the breed of dog known as the pit bull. Pit bull owners are the scum of humanity. The idiot who put me in the hospital is a pit bull owner. These dogs were bred to fight other dogs and will kill each other in the kennel long before they are let loose in the pit. As for people, pit bull attacks are common. One woman in my state was mauled so badly that she lost both arms. I believe that all pit bulls should be euthanized out of existence. As for pit bull owners, they deserve to be mauled and devoured by the monsters they own.

Pet hoarders are also despicable. I have heard many stories of cat ladies living in the worst filth. When they go in to force a clean up, they almost always find cat carcasses in the filth. That is a level of nastiness that I cannot comprehend.

I think pets are luxuries. This hit me when the apartment complex told me that I could have a pet if I was willing to pay a sizable deposit and an extra $100 a month to keep the animal. I thought this was highway robbery until I heard the horror stories of tenants who let their animals poop and pee all over the place with no effort to clean it up. The reality is they don't charge enough. Naturally, I knew a nice old lady there who struggled to make ends meet. She owned a dog.

I just keep my mouth shut when it comes to other people's pets. I think the vast majority of pet ownership is stupid. If you can afford your pet and be responsible with it, I am fine with that. But that is becoming harder and harder these days for people trying to afford the increasing cost of living. Pets are luxuries that most people can't afford now. If you can't feed your kids, don't buy a dog or a cat. By the way, it is estimated that it costs $150 to $300 per month to feed and care for a dog. You can do the math from there for additional dogs and annual costs and lifetime costs.

I reserve a special disdain for horse owners. Unless you are a cowboy tending cattle, you don't need a horse. Horses are in the same category as boats and airplanes as far as I am concerned. You are better off renting than owning.

I understand the love for pets. Pets don't cheat on you or lie to you or try to murder you except for those pit bulls. They love you unconditionally as long as they get fed. They will never judge you or criticize you. In many ways, pets are better than people. But they are not a substitute for people. Excessive love for animals is a mental illness in my book.

Finally, I don't believe pets go to Heaven when they die. I think they just die. If all animals went to Heaven, it would be Hell. The sentiment that all dogs go to Heaven is just nonsense. It would behoove one to care more about their own final destiny than to worry about Fido getting to chase cats and cars for eternity in the afterlife. When I hear someone bring up the question, I have to stifle the urge to call them out on this idiocy.

What do I do in the absence of pets? I pet the neighbor's dog when he scoots under the fence. I watch birds. I chase the rabbits out of my garden. None of this costs me anything. And I have made a trip or two to the animal shelter to pet a cat when I feel the urge. But I am not adopting a pet. And if some fool gives me a pet on some idiotic impulse, I will get rid of that animal. I am at the point in life where pets bring more pain than joy.


Unpopular Opinions 2

If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

I am back with the second edition of unpopular opinions. These are fun to write because I don't think about them much. You probably won't think about them much either.

1. People who smoke dope are dopes.

I have never smoked dope in my life. I truly believe that it is the gateway drug. I think communities and states that legalize weed are asking for problems as seen in Colorado and Oregon. As for Amsterdam, they want to outlaw marijuana again.

I do not believe marijuana does anything positive for anyone except give you an appetite for Dorito's which might help someone on chemo. The overwhelming negative is that smoking weed on a regular basis makes you profoundly stupid. This is why those Cheech & Chong movies are so funny. Stoners are dummies.

2. Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail isn't worth it.

Hiking the AT only gives respectability to being homeless and unemployed for 3 to 6 months. It's not fun. You could die. And when you get it done, you get to brag about walking really far. Other than that, you get more enjoyment from a day hike without having to give up your day job. Don't ask the people who have completed the AT. Ask the people who quit the AT. You will get more honest answers from the quitters about what to expect.

3. The Andy Griffith Show was and is the best.

I despise Seinfeld. I find people are either Seinfeld fans or Andy Griffith fans. Are Andy Griffith watchers a better class of people? Absolutely. If you hate the AGS, I know to put you on my Bad Person list.

As for the show itself, it was only good when Don Knotts was on the program. They continued to make episodes after Knotts left, but those shows aren't worth watching. Andy got the top billing, but Don Knotts was the real star of the show.

There are other shows like Happy Days and Gomer Pyle, USMC. I don't really like those shows, and I don't watch them. I'd rather watch Andy and the gang in Mayberry. That show was something special.

4. Automatic dishwashers are junk.

I don't use dishwashers despite having them everyplace that I have lived. They don't clean the dishes. They do clean the dishes if you wash them before loading them in the dishwasher. Why not wash the dishes and put them on the rack? Ultimately, the automatic dishwasher has yet to be invented.

5. Boxers are the best underwear.

Briefs aka "tighty whiteys" are the worst underwear. I don't know the advantage of those things. They look awful. Boxer briefs are just really tight boxers that wear out rapidly in the crotch. That leaves boxers which are the best underwear. They take longer to wear out, and they look better than briefs. Boxers are classic.

6. Buttons are awesome and need to come back. Touchscreens are terrible.

Cars have touchscreens now which means you will be totally distracted changing the station on your car radio because you have to look at the screen to operate the thing. The only advantage of these screens is that it saves money for the automakers who don't like buttons anymore. Buttons are safer, morons!

The touchscreen thing is why I hate smartphones and iPads. I never had a BlackBerry, but I think it was the best smartphone ever made because of the keyboard. The buttons are why I love my flip phone. As for tablets, they are not real computers. Their biggest accessory is an attachable keyboard with buttons. Just get a laptop.

7. A polo shirt is just a T-shirt with a collar.

I wear a T-shirt and a button down overshirt. This is my standard uniform. Sometimes, I take off the overshirt and go with the T-shirt if the situation calls for it like washing dishes. Otherwise, I like having a collared shirt because it makes you look more like a grown up.

If the T-shirt and the overshirt mated, they would give birth to the polo shirt. It promises the best of both worlds but leaves you with the worst. It's too relaxed to be respectable, but it is not as comfortable as a T-shirt. Since the polo is worn by itself, you always feel underdressed. You could pair the polo with a button up like Steve Bannon, but this opens you to ridicule and derision.

I got rid of my polo shirts years ago. I have not missed them.

8. I despise Apple, all of their products, and their cult.

I grew up with Apple in high school. Being a liberal arts major, I favored the Apple stuff in comparison to the Microsoft based PCs. But I couldn't afford Apple products. Some things never change.

A friend of mine who was into gaming steered me away from Apple in the 90s. My engineering brother also recommended I not invest in Apple products. I bought a Compaq laptop which was frustrating at the beginning for me, but I came to love it after I adjusted to Microsoft Windows and CTRL+ALT+DEL. Needless to say, the advice to eschew Apple was solid. I watched the company go from some hippy outsiders to a cult of idiots.

I use an HP desktop. My wife uses a Chromebook. We use flip phones. We don't own Macs, iPhones, or iPads. If I had to buy a smartphone, it would be an Android device.

My top reason for hating Apple is economic. They charge too much for their shiny products. They lock you into your ecosystem. They brick your stuff and force you to upgrade to newer and expensive products you don't need. And the Apple customer base thinks this screw job is awesome. What idiots!

9. The Beatles were overrated. Nirvana, too.

I have never been a Beatles fan. I like a few of their songs, but I like the Stones more. I'd rather listen to Pet Sounds from the Beach Boys than Sgt. Pepper. I don't understand the appeal of this band. I can think of ten groups from the sixties who were better.

I also don't understand Nirvana. I like none of their songs. NONE.  The rest of the grunge acts out of Seattle were actually very good. The Foo Fighters are a better band than Nirvana. Ultimately, Nirvana was a sick individual who appealed to other sick individuals. I wonder how many people were inspired to kill themselves after Kurt Cobain blew his brains out. Why did so many people find his music appealing? There's no accounting for taste.

10. Gen X is a better generation than the Baby Boomers or the Millennials.

I am a member of Generation X which may bias my opinion here, but I think I am totally right on this one. The problem with Baby Boomers is they had it too good courtesy of their Great Depression/WWII survivor parents. Millennials also had it too good because their Baby Boomer parents let them stay at home and do whatever. Gen X got kicked out of the house during a lousy economy. Ironically, that forced hardship turned Gen X into a better class of generation. Gen Xers have more in common with their grandparents than their parents.

Gen X is middle aged now. I think we are doing pretty good all things considered. But Gen X is not righteous. The tough times did not inspire faith and optimism so much as cynicism and nihilism. We are a self-reliant bunch, but that's because we know that no one else is coming to save us.

Boomers are out of touch. They don't live in the Gen X world. Millennials entered our world and are a bunch of whiners. Their first brush with reality was more than they could bear.

That's ten unpopular opinions. I stop at ten because it is a nice round number. I'll have more in Unpopular Opinions 3 in 3D. Bring your special glasses.


Know Your Place

A person can't help their birth.

I remember a time when I was between high school and college when I was snubbed. I had two friends at my church who were getting married. They asked me and another fellow to help out with setting up for the wedding. Basically, we were tasked with the dirty work of moving tables and furniture for the reception. We did this work gladly and thought no more of it. Then, someone asked if we were going to the rehearsal dinner.

"We weren't invited," I told the someone.

"What do you mean you weren't invited? You're setting up for them. You're friends with them. You're invited."

That someone was wrong. We were not invited. Being naive, we went to the rehearsal dinner. Each place had a name card, but neither of us had one of those cards. I remember the bride turning over one of the cards and seating me. She was embarrassed over the situation. She was not a snob, but her parents were. We were good enough to slave for the wedding but not good enough to attend that dinner. It was my first taste of learning my place.

Now, the Gentle Reader may think I was angry over the snub, but I am not. I had made a huge mistake. I did not know my place. My friend and I were nobodies. We weren't good enough to be in the company of those people. I should never have gone to that rehearsal dinner uninvited. That was my fault. But my other mistake was thinking that I was actually friends with those people and helping to set up for the event. Those people were not in my social class, and I was not in theirs. They thought they were doing me the favor of letting me be their slave. I should have done them the favor of declining the "opportunity."

The Gentle Reader may confuse me as some sort of egalitarian, but I am not. I am an elitist. I don't know if it is because I grew up in the South or read too much English literature, but I believe in the class system even if my place in that system is closer to the bottom than to the top. People with low status but ambition and aspirations resent the class system. I find the class system liberating.

American society is more egalitarian than English society with its class system. We don't have royalty on this side of the pond. But if you think we don't have a class system here in the States, you are mistaken. The way I see it, there are four basic classes here in the USA.

1. The Elite

At the top of the pile, we have the elite. These are powerful politicians, CEOs, celebrities, and on and on. Financially, these people are wealthy, and you have to be a millionaire or belong to a millionaire family to be in the elite. Being a billionaire is even better.

2. The Middle Class

Underneath the elite, you have the middle class. These are people who belong to respectable white collar professions like lawyer, doctor, dentist, and businessman. There are others lower down the scale like teachers and librarians who don't make much money, but they have the luxury of not getting their hands dirty with manual labor.

3. The Working Class

Underneath the middle class, you have the working class. This would be the plumber or the yard man to the doctor and the lawyer. They work low status jobs for whatever they pay these days. When quitting time comes, they go home and pop a top on a can of cheap beer and watch sports highlights on TV.

4. The Trash Class

This is the bottom of society. These are the homeless, the criminals, the meth addicted rednecks, the drug dealing ghetto thugs, and the like. These people rarely work and opt for crime or welfare to make it in life. Their class is not tied to some accident of birth but a lack of virtue and character. This is why people can feel comfortable looking down on these people. With a work ethic, they can belong to the working class at any time they choose. They choose not to do this.

Now, we have lots of social mobility in the USA. A thug hoodlum can go from trash class to elite with a basketball scholarship and going to the NBA after he drops out of college. But we all know that he is trash. Money does not give you class, and it cannot buy you class. You discover this when that NBA thug gets arrested for beating his girlfriend or gets caught smoking dope.

A similar thing happens when a person from the working class enters the world of the middle class. He thinks he has arrived, but he can't understand why the HOA gets upset when he parks his pickup truck in the street instead of the garage. He can't understand why the country club has turned down his membership application. Our working class man is not a bad guy. He just doesn't know his place.

I am a working class man. I know my place. This locked into my mind by my late twenties as I went up one rung on the social ladder, hated it, and went back down to where I truly belong. I do not belong in the white collar world. This realization ended up making me very happy.

The reason I love the class system is because it liberates you to be who you were meant to be. Ultimately, your class is not about wealth but attitude, values, and mindset. A plumber typically makes more than a school teacher, but the school teacher is firmly in the middle class. The plumber is working class even if he becomes a millionaire doing it.

Knowing your place in the class system allows you to be a plumber. It lets you be a diesel mechanic or a landscaper. You don't have to live up to any expectations except to be honest and hard working. It also lets you drive a 20 year old pickup truck, wear comfortable work clothes, and eat at the Waffle House. It also saves you time by not applying to the snooty country club because you know you don't belong there. You can't afford it anyway.

I don't have any problem with people who belong to a superior class. Sometimes, they invite me to things, but I always decline as I recall that rehearsal dinner incident. They never ask why I decline the invite, but I am always ready to tell them that blue collar people like me shouldn't mingle with white collar people like them. I know this will provoke some pain in them because they like to believe in that egalitarian myth we have going here in the USA. But it is a myth.

In my town, we have the snooty country club and the blue collar golf course. I don't know why any working class person would play golf. Bowling is the game for them. Yet, despite sharing a love for the same game, these two classes of people choose separate places to play that game. Similarly, we have two different types of neighborhoods. One type is the white collar neighborhood with a tyrannical HOA, and the other is the blue collar neighborhood with pickup trucks parked in the driveway. These people choose to live where they live. They do not mingle.

We are not equal. Some people may rise to a higher station, but that system remains regardless of the social mobility. Likewise, if your change in status doesn't come with a change in attitude and values, you are not going to belong in your new social class. You will be a misfit hated by your peers. I have seen this happen, and it is tragic.

I do not belong in the NBA. This is because I am 5'7". Consequently, I never think about it. This is how I think about class. I was born working class, and I became what I was born to be. These things only trouble you when you think this arrangement is unfair, and you have been deprived of something that belongs to you. I know they don't belong to me.

Most people aspire to rise to a station that is higher than the one given them at birth. This explains why so many kids still pile into universities while accumulating sizable debts to train for jobs that are either non-existent or not worth the student loan debt. This problem doesn't exist at trade schools that offer cheap education for guaranteed jobs with great pay. People go to college for status not education or training. These people would be better served if they knew their place.

Knowing your place is just another way of saying be humble. I like using the phrase because it stings the pride. People will find life more agreeable if they simply knew their place and accepted their place. From the mouth of a snob, this would sound repugnant. But I am a nobody, and I have found it to be true. I like being working class. From my mouth, it is truth. Know your place and accept it.

Some people think they can find satisfaction in good food, fine clothes, lively music, and sexual pleasure. However, when they have all these things, they are not satisfied. They realize happiness is not simply having their material needs met. Thus, society has set up a system of rewards that go beyond material goods. These include titles, social recognition, status, and political power, all wrapped up in a package called self-fulfillment. Attracted by these prizes and goaded on by social pressure, people spend their short lives tiring body and mind to chase after these goals. Perhaps this gives them the feeling that they have achieved something in their lives, but in reality they have sacrificed a lot in life. They can no longer see, hear, act, feel, or think from their hearts. Everything they do is dictated by whether it can get them social gains. In the end, they've spent their lives following other people's demands and never lived a life of their own. How different is this from the life of a slave or a prisoner?


What Is It To Thee?

Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? follow thou me.

This verse has fascinated me for years. Most readers will focus on Peter and John and their respective fates. For me, the fascinating part is when Jesus responds to Peter's question with a question. What is it to thee?

I am no theologian or learned scholar. I am just a blue collar guy reading a Bible. I could be totally wrong on this interpretation. But I think Jesus was telling Peter to mind his own business. By extension, I think our Lord is telling us to mind our own business.

I am someone who has always been in the business of minding his own business. I don't care to stick my nose in the affairs of other people. The only exception I make to this rule is when it is my business. If my priest is a pervert, I want to know because I have a right to know. For too long, pewsitters looked the other way as priests and bishops have done disgraceful things. I believe you forfeit the right to this level of privacy when you become a shepherd.

When it comes to politicians and political leaders, I think the same rule applies. I think you forfeit your right to privacy when you elect to run for public office. This is why I will never run for public office. I don't want my personal life to be offered up for public consumption.

When it comes to celebrities, I have zero interest in their personal affairs. Their lives are fodder for the likes of TMZ and the National Enquirer, but I don't read that stuff. I am not immune from hearing about it because gossip is everywhere. I don't think someone should lose their privacy because they choose a career in acting, music, or sports.

Calumny and detraction are sins, so I am careful to not engage in them. When I do write about others, I give them a nickname as a loincloth to the reputation they have earned. For instance, we have President Bribery and Bishop Nighty Night. My mistake. That is Cardinal Nighty Night. He has a red hat now. He may become Pope Nighty Night.

Jesus referred to the Pharisees as vipers and snakes. I tell people this when they trot out that claptrap when they say I am being uncharitable with my insulting nicknames. I don't recall Jesus ever referring to any of the vipers by name in the Gospels. As for nicknames, "Sons of Thunder" has to qualify.

I think I am doing well on the gossip thing because so many people over the years have felt compelled to confess so many personal things to me. This would include things like adultery and abortion. I have had to warn people to not tell me about criminal things because I have a duty to report this to the police. I am not a priest. I just tell people that they should go to a priest, and I will pray for them. But their secrets do not go beyond me. Actually, I would prefer not to know any of this. I don't ask, but people love to tell.

When it comes to professional Catholics who make a living off of YouTube, blogging, and social media, I address their public statements but leave their private lives out of the discussion. For instance, I have pointed out that Rod Dreher is a schismatic, but I don't talk about his marital affairs even though Mr. Dreher has done so publicly. Likewise, I have discussed the apostasy of high profile Catholics like Steve Skojec and Audrey Assad. I have not discussed their private lives. With Mr. Skojec, I am actually privy to some of those details, but they dead end with me. What I can say is that you should decide between your faith or your living because you can't have both.

When it comes to pewsitters, I mind my own business. Unfortunately, this is a one way street as so many pewsitters have a tendency to be unable to mind their own business. One person I know has become so upset with this that she has stopped attending Mass altogether to get away from these busybodies. That is the wrong strategy. The right strategy is to tell these people to buzz off and mind their own business.

Everyone has their own relationship with the Lord. The Lord deals with each of us on an individual basis. What happens in that relationship is none of my business. I can dress up being a busybody as charity the way some folks dress up gossip as the prayer chain. But I don't need to know anything to pray for someone. God knows everything, and He is the only one that needs to know.

My wife and I have a little phrase that we tell each other all the time. Eat what is on your plate. Basically, we focus on what we need to do for our sanctification and salvation and leave it to others to focus on what they need to do. It can be difficult watching people make a mess of their lives without saying anything, but we say nothing. We focus like a laser on being a good example which speaks louder than words. The easiest way to not be a hypocrite is to close your mouth.

We always stand ready to help people who ask. No one ever asks. The irony is that people we know appreciate this about us. As one friend told us, "Never change." We are still puzzled by this, but I think she appreciates that we are the friends who don't preach to her. We need you to pray for her. You don't need to know anything more than that. Thank you.