Saturday, February 28, 2009

Competitive Praying

Years ago (when three-year-old James and two-year-old Ben were first noticing that we'd pray before meals) they, as boys tend to do, decided that this activity needs to be a competition. So before each meal they'd argue about who's turn it was to issue the family's thanks to God. One evening, as we were bowing our heads to acknowledge the Lord's bountiful harvest of Domino's Pizza, I came up with the brilliant idea of letting both boys pray alternately as each new slice was removed from the communal greasy box. For a while this worked like a charm, but then Ben (having already said the blessing twice) decided that it was high time to turn the tables on me.

He informed me, "Dad, your turn."

I had to acknowledge the fairness of Ben's newly invented rule, so I folded my hands, bowed my head and said, "Ready?"

Ben replied, "Set! ... Go!"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Salt and Battery

While America and the Soviets were equipping themselves with weapons of mass destruction, my brother Roy discovered the most subtle and affective of chemical weapons: NaCl, simple sodium chloride, otherwise known as TABLE SALT. Mere salt can be an awesome weapon when it falls into the hands of the evil and ruthless.

When we were kids, my oldest brother Joel would occasionally go to the kitchen cupboard and abscond with the sugar bowl. He'd then go to the living room and plop down on the couch for some mindless entertainment courtesy of Buffalo Bob. With the sugar bowl in his lap, Joel would lick his thumb, jam it into the sugar and then suck the sugar from his sugar-and-spittle-coated digit. He'd usually repeat this lick-dip-suck process until the bowl was empty (though on a few occasions I wisely opted out of sugar on my cereal upon finding Joel's tell-tale deep thumbprint in the white crystals).

One day Roy got the inspired idea of replacing the sugar in the bowl with salt. Later that day during a commercial break, Joel snuck into the kitchen, nabbed the sweetness-filled urn, retreated to his place on the sofa in front of the idiot box, and then (with eyes fixed on the tube) he distractedly poked a slobbery digit into the crystaline goodness and brought forth his snow-white thumb.

Roy and I were also watching TV, but Roy had taken note of Joel's slipping off to the kitchen, and when he saw Joel returning with the saccharide vessel, he leaned toward me -- his eyes motioning toward Joel, he whispered, "Watch this."

So while Joel's eyes were glued to the TV, Roy and I had our four beady eyes sharply focused on the granulose thumb that was moving from bowl to mouth. As Joel's lips formed a tight o-ring on the base of his thumb, his entire face seemed to pucker and his eyes squeezed out tears that suddenly flooded his cheeks. Even quicker than his face had imploded on itself, it exploded in rage: "Who put salt in the sugar bowl?"

We roared with laughter and Joel immediately recognized his nemesis: "Roy, I'll get you for this!"

Mom of course heard the uproar and came into the living room from the laundry, but (for reasons mysterious) she seemed unsympathetic to what Joel felt was a great injustice done to him by his younger brother. In fact, Mom even went so far as to seized upon this as an opportunity to lecture on proper hygiene and family policy regarding the filching of sugar.

Once again the forces of evil had triumphed ... and as always, with the full blessing of those in authority.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ten things you will NEVER hear me say...

1) Boy, what I wouldn't give for one of those big "Obama" yard signs...

2) Working in downtown Dallas is soooo much better than Fort Worth.

3) The government is soooo much better at handling my money than I am.

4) "The Daily Kos" is soooo uplifting.

5) My hair is soooo lush.

6) That Rosie O'Donnell is soooo sexy.

7) That Al Gore is soooo brilliant.

8) That Whoopi Goldberg is soooo funny.

9) That Joel Osteen is soooo wise.

10) I am soooo deserving of God's love.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Excellent Story

I was amazed to find this thoughtful article in the Jerusalem Post. More on the subject later. Joyce has already asked when I'm coming to bed and my answer "Soon" is getting a bit stale.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

An Odd Thing Happened

UPDATE: THIS GLITCH HAS MYSTERIOUSLY CURED ITSELF. But due to overwhelming demand (i.e., my brother-in-law's off-the-cuff comment) I'm leaving this post up.

I just made a discovery. Last October I posted a somewhat lengthy piece where I expressed the opinion that America is repeating the error of 1930s Germany. You can leaf back through my archive for October 2008 and find it (entitled: "Wessen Schuld"), but what you can't do (and herein is my discovery) is link directly to that article.

I find this very troubling. That particular post attracted a few links and it got quite a few hits. The only explanation I can think of for that post's sudden disappearance (please tell me this isn't paranoid) is that Google (which hosts Blogger) thinks that post is offensive. I see how one could interpret the article as criticism of Barack Obama (though my point is that like Germany of 76 years ago America is desperate for a messiah, not that it's found a messiah like Germany's). [Though perhaps (in light of recent legislative developments) it's time to re-think whether America's first socialist President is actually more like "der Führer" than I was willing to admit.]

I any case, just to test my theory (and to thwart what appears to be censorship), here's that article again. Feel free to create links directly to this post -- let's see if it gets similarly blocked or deleted.

I took three years of high-school German, and therefore (of course) I know almost no German, but there is one phrase I haven't forgotten: "Wessen Schuld?"

My German teacher was a retired Army colonel. Colonel Price had been a U.S. Army infantry lieutenant during World War II and his lessons in German diction were often sprinkled with his personal experiences from the post-war German occupation. One time he was explaining the difference between "leider" (pronounced "LIE-duh") and "entschuldigen Sie mir" (ent-SHOOLT-uh-gun zee meer), both of which can be translated as "excuse me". He told us that "leider" is an adverb meaning unfortunately or regrettably. It's a weak apology, the sort of thing one might say as he steps in front of a fellow theater-goer in getting to a seat, but "entschuldigen Sie mir" expresses culpability and actual regret for ones actions. Colonel Price went on to explain that the "Schuld" (pronounced SHOOLT) in "entschuldigen" is the German word for "fault" or "guilt". So "entschuldigen" literally means "to un-fault", "to un-guilt", "to pardon".

To illustrate the word "Schuld", Colonel Price explained how it was used by the Allies after the war to get Germans to acknowledge their complicity in the holocaust. All across Germany the Allies put up posters that showed scenes of Nazi death camps. Atop those photos were two simple words: "Wessen Schuld?" - "Whose fault?"

This propaganda campaign, designed to force the Germans to admit their complicity in the Nazi atrocities, was very effective. So effective that nowadays the word "Nazi" is universally accepted as a synonym for "evil". The word "Nazi" has become the insult of choice whenever your argument is so weak that you have to resort to impugning the character of your opponent. It puts an end to all rational discussion. (For example, calling President Bush "Chimpee McHitler" is not an invitation to discuss the merits of American Middle East foreign policy.) But "Nazi" wasn't always such a pejorative term. It certainly wasn't in 1933 pre-war Germany when the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei came to power.

Economically the situation today is similar to the early days of the Great Depression. Foolish/greedy speculation, aggravated by governmental interference in the market (i.e., the Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 versus the Community Reinvestment Act), had created an unbalance in financial markets that the government only exacerbated with its attempts to fix. And in some ways this year's presidential election is similar to that of 1932. But the similarity there is merely superficial. I believe this election much more like the German election of 1932 which resulted in the appointment of Aldolf Hitler as Chancellor on January 30, 1933. One must note that, in the month following Hitler's ascendancy, the Reichstag was burned and that by July Germany had become a one-party state.

This rapid consolidation of power by the Nazis in 1933 was facilitated by the mood in Germany. Historically the Germans had been a deeply religious people. Based on their religious faith they had built a strong Protestant work ethic. On that work ethic they constructed an industrial machine; and on industry they had built a strong central government under the Kaiser.

But with economic and political gains came spiritual loss. In the closing years of the 19th century the Germans lost faith in their God; then they lost the Great War (and with it their Kaiser); then they lost faith in their money, and finally they surrendered all faith in their government. By the early 1930s Germany was desperately cynical. Of course, the Nazis were eager to exploit this deep well of cynicism: inviting the German people to place faith in a more modern god, a god who promised to restore all of Germany's fortunes.

But more than promising mere material blessings, this modern god promised commodities that Germany desperately and undeniably needed even more: "hope" and "change". The Nazis did a masterful job of portraying themselves as the likeliest source of these core needs. In 1933, National Socialism was - rather than "evil" - seen as (to sum it up in one word) "progressive".

In economics, National Socialism was middle Europe's middle road between the failed experiments of American capitalism and Soviet communism, but it was much more than the thinking man's economic choice. Nazi social policy was the distilled wisdom of social Darwinism, which held the philosophical high ground in Europe and was even endorsed by the humanist elite on this side of the Atlantic. Only narrow-minded religious reactionaries could fail to see that human evolution had raised us from the primordial slime, and that technology had given us the power to seize control of our own evolution. No one dared deny the "modern" truth that man, by means of man's own efforts, could (and ought to) make himself "superman".

A little background is called for here as explanation of that last sentence. Long before the Nazis came to power, men of stature throughout Western society openly supported the eugenic policies that the Nazis would later implement. In the years leading up to Hitler's election, eugenicists (including H. G. Wells [renowned author], George Bernard Shaw [respected playwright], John Maynard Keynes [prime architect of the New Deal], Julian Huxley [acclaimed scientist] and Margaret Sanger [founder of Planned Parenthood]) were lauded as the thinkers of their day. And even before the Federal government became the prime sponsor of social engineering, the work of these enlightened ones was well-funded by respected institutions such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation and the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

In 1907 future president Woodrow Wilson championed legislation in Indiana that required the involuntary sterilization of genetically unfit persons. By 1930 similar laws had been passed in thirty states. And even for some time after Adolf Hitler's rise to power, such notables as Charles Lindbergh and Joseph P. Kennedy (Ambassador to England and father of future President John F. Kennedy) were among Hitler's staunchest supporters. National Socialism was not an instant phenomenon; it was merely the political manifestation of popular ideas that had been circulating for a half-century.

The humanist message was very simple: human life has no intrinsic value. Given this fundamental tenet, its corollary was thus undeniable: some unwanted persons are expendable. In this regard, 21st century America compares unfavorably with 1930s Germany. In 1933 the Germans were on the verge of exterminating 6,000,000 unwanted Jews whom they hated; we have already killed 40,000,000 unborn children whom we simply find inconvenient. In place of the Nazi's selfless goal of "eugenic progress", our rationale is the mere selfish motive of "personal choice". Instead of isolated, demonized Jews - the target has become our own innocent, womb-cradled babies. And (most damningly) the slaughter has lasted two generations, not just a decade. Today the issues are different than they were in the 1930s, but the apologists for evil are ever the same.

All this brings me to my real subject. National Socialism grew in soil well prepared for that hemlock seed. The soil of Western Civilization, broken with a half century of humanism, was seeking human solutions to humanity's problems. The people of Europe and the elite of America had long ago abandoned the religious tenet that all human life is the gift of God and that each of us is accountable to our Creator for how we use or abuse that gift. The simplistic morality of the Victorians had given way to a more modern wisdom: "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Which is to say: man had arrogated to himself (not just the power to choose right from wrong) but the authority to define right and wrong.

This proud new generation of Übermenschen had dispensed with outmoded notions of God - joining Nietzsche in declaring that man himself is all the god mankind needs. (Or as it's been more recently worded: "We are who we've been waiting for.") But the messianic promise of National Socialism wasn't merely that we are gods; it was that we could make ourselves "like the Most High."

My point, of course, isn't simply that our grandfathers erred, but that we are in the process of repeating their error. What I find most troubling aren't the solutions that are being offered for today's social problems, but the assumptions that are never questioned. Today's universal "truth" can be summed in one statement: "The government ought to do something about [problem du jour]." But if history teaches us anything, it's that governments are much more prone to causing problems than to fixing them.

Understand, I'm not saying that any American politician today is like Adolf Hitler. It's worse than that. I'm saying that America is now so desperate for a political messiah that we'll even accept someone who is so much less charismatic than Hitler was. The problem isn't that we have demigods running for office (for there's certainly nothing new about politicians' presuming to possess divine powers). The problem is: we expect these demigods to perform miracles for us. We have degenerated from dependence on the Bible's God of the universe, past a begrudging acceptance of Kipling's "gods of the copybook headings", to worship of the Chicago machine's skillfully crafted idol. Germany bowed to an inspiring orator who stood on a magnificent stage at Nuremburg. America worships a mumbling snob who stands before a Styrofoam Parthenon that was borrowed from some Hollywood back lot.

You may be thinking: "Gee, that's quite an extrapolation. How can you say that present trends will inevitably lead to a new holocaust?" I answer, "My mentioning 'broad is the way that leads to destruction' is not the same as predicting that society will follow that road to its end. Only God's victory is inevitable; we merely choose whether our fate is in our hands or God's."

And that's precisely what troubles me most. Where is the outrage over the slaughter of 40-million babies since Roe v Wade and why are we so indifferent to the rising tide of anti-Semitism? The Germans (untroubled in the 1930s by the hidden slaughter of the mentally and physically deficient) by the 1940s had not only accepted the wholesale slaughter of society's unwanted, but even gloried in their tattooed lampshades and dental bullion.

Of course, I find it very troubling that the ridicule of those who trust in God (of us who "cling to our guns and religion") is now in vogue, but the Christian faith was born and it has flourished under far worse Caesars. So I don't fret about the persecution of Christians (for the Light shines brightest in the darkness). But I do feel horrible dread for Israel. Christians are called as witnesses to God's faithfulness, but Israel is the living testimony of God's promise. Whenever a Christian speaks up, he exposes the world's idolatry. But so long as a Jew breathes, the world stands condemned. The Christian can be silenced, but the Jew - ah the Jew - that's a problem requiring a "Final Solution".

Our Jewish brethren have just ended their commemoration of Yom Kippur (the day of repentance), but for America our Day of Atonement lies ahead of us. Before we complete the job of turning America into a workers' paradise and Israel into death camp, let's confess our idolatry and consider the words we must never forget: "Wessen Schuld?"

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Two years ago today I posted my very first words on this blog - not really intending to have anyone read them. I just figured a blog would be a good place to dump those few thoughts that leak out of my head. Because I'd never really planned to take up blogging and I was still half intending to drop it, I hadn't mentioned my blog to Joyce when she sent me an email with a link to her very first post. Of course, I replied with a link to mine. So ever since we've been a blogging couple.

Anyway, my first post was this poem (based on one of those viral email stories that makes the rounds). I was rather pleased with how well that story fit my meter and rhyme. So without further ado, here it is.

Free Lunch

Smackin dust from hat'n boots
just 'nside the cafe door,
I stomps to th'counter with m'dime,
coffee wages 'n nothin more.
Sits m'self at the sleeve o' a Meskin -
a poco boracho so he seems.
Waitress brings m'cup - still there
he sits, astarin at his beans.

A day ago I filled m'gut,
'n that were just some jerky chili.
While I eyes that heapin bowl,
in my mind'er thoughts: "Danged silly,
"Silly!" them thoughts protest, "a drunken
Meskin awasting food galore."
So speaks them thoughts, and says to him,
"Might I finish that, Seenyor?"

Without even alookin up,
he shakes his head and says to me,
"Help jorself," and slides the grub -
so now I has a meal fer free.
As beans is filling up m'carcass,
pure sweetness's fillin up my heart,
"Them Spics ain't all so bad!" I thinks
(that 'n, "Pintas makes me fart").

Then I spies the mouse's head,
eyein' me atop m'spoon.
'N sudden comes the backerds flow,
awhence to bowl it left so soon.
Leanin close, my compadre speaks
some words well worthy of a chew:
"How'ju like jor lunch por libre?
'S'bout as far as I got, too."

Valentines Day Thought


Joyce sent me the link to this sight with the admonition: "Never ever give your wife anything from this site!"

Darn!!! There goes another Valentines Day blown all to heck!

Friday, February 13, 2009


How can someone as intelligent as President B. Hussein Obama actually believe that racking up more debt will make everyone richer? Does he actually think that America can spend its way to prosperity?

In a word ... no. President Obama isn't that stupid. He knows the truth. He knows this "stimulus" package will devastate the U.S. economy, but that's a price he's prepared to pay in order to achieve a greater goal: the goal (as he told Joe the Plumber in one of his unguarded moments) of "spreading the wealth around". Calling this a "stimulus" plan is a ruse. The objective of the bill Congress will pass today is not to bolster the economy. The goal is to put federal politicians and bureaucrats in charge to re-distributing America's wealth.

How do I know this? Let's consider the numbers. The total size of the package is $800-billion, and it promises to create 3.5-million jobs. That works out to be more than $225,000 per job. So does each of these new jobs pay more than $225,000? If so, then those are some pretty well-payed highway construction jobs. But if not, then this "stimulus" package is a net loss; it sucks more wealth out of the economy than it puts into it. Of course, that takes the optimistic view that the 3.5-million jobs our politicians have promised will actually materialize. (Call me a skeptic, but I believe politicians capable of shading the truth.) And if we're promised 3.5-million jobs, how many of the jobs that do actually materialize will be awarded to new government bureaucrats whose only job is to impede the free flow of products and services? No, by any measure this is no "stimulus".

Now let's consider the numbers another way. $800-billion is just slightly less than all the revenue that's paid as personal income taxes each year. If (instead of giving $800-billion to federal bureaucrats to distribute for us) the government had simply advised us to not bother paying any taxes for a year, do you suppose that would stimulate the economy? Of course it would, but it wouldn't have empowered the government to decide where our money goes -- it would have given us that power. So then, one must suspect that there's something other than economic stimulus as the goal of this "stimulus" plan.

To understand what President Obama means when he speaks of "stimulus", you have to watch what he does rather than listen to what he says. It's the results, not the promises that count. And the outcome of this so-called stimulus package will be to empower politicians to use the money of productive citizens to foster government dependence among the unproductive.

I take the charitable view of the President's motives; I think he actually believes that income redistribution is a noble enterprise. But that is what's so troubling. Dealing with a criminal who sticks a gun in your face and demands your money is a moment of moral clarity. Neither you nor the criminal are under any illusion about who the "bad guy" is. But when a government agent is collecting what he says rightfully belongs to "the People", the thug mistakenly thinks he has the moral high ground. A gunman acting on his own behalf can come under conviction (either spiritually or legally) and recognize the evil of his ways. But a self-righteous politician, who believes he's acting for the good of mankind, is beyond redemption, and his thievery can't be stopped by the law since he has perverted the law to serve the "greater good" (as he defines "good").

So what's the solution to this mess? Well, there isn't one -- the problem is spiritual, not economic. We as a society have bowed to the god of this world (trusting in human solutions to human problems) and now we're simply reaping what we've sown. That's not to say that there's no redemption, just that it will come to all of us when it comes to each of us. When each of us ceases from worshiping the creature rather than the Creator, then we will quit squabbling over which of us gets to rule over the others. Then we'll quit demanding what we don't deserve, and start thanking our Maker for not getting what we do deserve.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Blonde Joke

Chuck, a colleague I used to work with, emailed me a blonde joke. I (aware that Chuck's wife, Miss Sally, is blonde) of course replied:

Bob: That's a good one. Be sure to send it to Miss Sally! She loves blonde jokes, right?

Chuck: [Copying me on his email to Miss Sally] Darlin', you'll notice I didn't include you on the first mailing. It was not an oversight on my part. It was good judgment. But I can't disappoint my friend Bob, so here it is.

Bob: Please quit calling me darlin'.

Chuck: That would be a terrible misunderstanding indeed. I hope you're happy, now Miss Sally won't be speaking to either of us.

Bob: You talk to your wife? I gotta try that.

Chuck: Try small words, like "yes", "but", "right away", etc. Then you can work up to "yes dear", "I'll get right on that", etc. They're slow learners. Cute, but slow.

Bob: "Huh?" has always been my best line, but thanks for the tips. (You know, you could fill in on "Dr Phil".)

Chuck: I definitely have the personality for that. I could sit there, listen to some bed-wetter's self-inflicted misery, pat him on the head, tell him I understand... I could do that.

Bob: Yeah, you definitely have the knack. It'd be just like old times at the coffee break.

Chuck: Yeah. We'd eat some Nestle' Drumstick Ice Creams and solve the world's problems. We did a good job solving all the problems, I believe. But we kind of fell down on implementing those solutions. Wasn't that your department?

Bob: Well, I was making great progress, but then Bush got elected and ...

Chuck: Say no more...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An Das Bahn

Niemand hat jemals versucht so tapfer zu ignorieren, ein Gespräch - ehrlich gesagt, habe ich versucht. Aber ich leider nicht.

Er ist eine erstaunliche Gelegenheit, den Austausch mit den pakistanischen Jungen, der in der nächsten verdrängt zu mir: "Es gibt absolut Null Kehrseite, und die Erträge sind phänomenal!"

Ah, die Naivität der Jugend Callow, mein Gehirn Antworten (in meinen Augen - zu realisieren, dass sie verloren haben, Kontakt mit meinen frontal lobes - Beginn der Suche nach dem Beginn des letzten Satzes).

"Er sagt, es ist alles eine Frage der Kreditvergabe an Personen, die Sie wissen, wer auf die Hilfe."

Unaufgefordert, mein Geist abgelenkt Freiwilligen, eine echte humanitäre Hilfe, dass die Finanzberater von Ihnen.

"Er hat einen Track Record von 99,4% Pay-off-Darlehen über die er in einkommensschwachen Vierteln."

Ja, und ein Sammler, die Daumen brechen sicher sehr nützlich.

"Die meisten seiner Darlehen an Frauen."

Erpressung von Geld stillende Mütter, deren missbräuchliche Freunde trinken weg ihre Gehaltsschecks. Was für eine fantastische Chance!

Der Zug erleichtert zu einem Halt bei der Station vor mir, und der Assistent aufgeregt finanziellen und seine Sidekick, Gunga Din, die sich von ihren Plätzen: "99,4% auszahlen! Das ist absolut unglaublich, nicht wahr?"

Der Herr hilft denen, die Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe.

Now click here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Such a Deal!

No one has ever tried so valiantly to ignore a conversation -- honest, I tried. But alas I failed.

So there I am, my eyes riveted to Ann Coulter's latest tome. Lady Ann is landing solid blows with her steely sixteen-pound rhetoric, blasting huge chunks from that most sacred of bleeding-heart icons: single mothers. But the enthusiastic young man sitting in the seat across from me just won't shut up, so enthused is he about new money-making possibilities.

He's sharing an amazing opportunity with the Pakistani guy who's squeezed in next to me: "There's absolutely zero downside to this, and the returns are phenomenal!"

Ah, the naivety of callow youth, my brain answers (as my eyes -- realizing that they've lost touch with my frontal lobes -- begin searching for the beginning of that last sentence).

"He says it's all a matter of lending money to people you know who need the help."

Unbidden, my distracted mind volunteers, A real humanitarian, that financial adviser of yours.

"He's got a track record of 99.4% pay-off on the loans he makes in low-income neighborhoods."

Yeah, and a collector who can break thumbs sure comes in handy.

"Most of his loans are to women."

Good grief! Extorting money from nursing mothers whose abusive boyfriends drink away their paychecks. What a fantastic business opportunity!

The train eases to a stop at the station before mine, and the excited financial wizard and his sidekick, Gunga Din, both rise from their seats: "99.4% pay-off! That's absolutely amazing, isn't it?"

The Lord helps those who help themselves.