Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Opus 2015-82: Election 2016: Promises

Do I believe the promises of Ted Cruz?

Come on.  Are we all adults here?  I did not hear his speech but the promises are already flowing.  Did I hear something about doing away with the IRS?  I agree in principle.  It could be the thing to do.  But keep in mind that the government will still find ways to get our money and the solution may be worse than the disease.

Some “promises” we understand are not to be taken literally.  They exhibit principles that will be pursued.  For instance, Barak Obama promised to close Gitmo.  Has he done so?  No, that was not the real goal.  The principle behind the promise was to turn loose people who could damage America and make us a weaker nation.  On that he has been an overwhelming success. 

At best promises reflect philosophy rather than reality.  At worst, they are bread and circuses for the masses.  I take the promises of Ted Cruz with a grain of salt, just like I do other politicians. 

So listen to the promises.  Try to discern if they reflect principles that the candidate really believes in.  I look at what Ted Cruz has done.  I look at what he really believes.  I like what I see, so far.  I will keep watching, listening and remembering.

As Benjamin Franklin is reported to have said, “A republic, if we can keep it.”  It won’t be easy but liberty has never been easy.  Wake up and smell the candidates.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 30, 2015

Opus 2015-81: The King’s New Coffee Maker

I am not impressed by gourmands and connoisseurs. 

Partly I understand that I do not have a discerning palate.  For instance, I can tell a really bad cup of coffee and a really good cup of coffee but I am not sure I can rate the blends in between. 

Partly I don’t think that they have discerning palates, either.  I think it is more an attempt to sell people on their superiority.  It is like a coffee taster’s version of The Kings New Clothes.  So much depends on subjective preference rather than objective taste.

Coffee snobs are a good example.  I have a pound of Brazilian Fancy Santos beans that I bought at Baltimore Coffee.  The bag has a lot of PR on it.  At one point it tells the customer, “We do not recommend ‘gold’ filters, as these pass fats & acids that paper holds back.”  Sounds good.

But wait a minute.  On the box for the French press was the claim that this was the best method because there was nothing to hold back the essential oils the gave the coffee its rich flavor. 

Which is it?

And how long do you let the coffee brew in the French Press.  When I was learning the method and researching on-line how to use it, the wisdom I found was that brewing over three minutes would begin to make the coffee bitter.  I broke my press and bought a new one.  The box said let it brew four minutes.  Three minutes or four?  Which is it?  I experimented and found that four minutes made the brew stronger so it was really a matter of taste. 

Or in my case, a lack of taste.

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Opus 2015-80: Election 2016: Choices

Who will I vote for in 2016?  I have no idea.  It will depend on who survives the process.  At the present time I have a few lists.  They will be alphabetical based on first name since I am too lazy to do it any other way.

The anyone but Hillary list.  I reflect on why I voted for Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney.  Because the alternatives were unspeakable.  There are several people that I already know are hold-your-nose-and-vote candidates.   Looking at the list, it might even be so bad that I go third party.

    Chris Christie
    Jeb Bush
    Mike Huckabee
    Rand Paul

The short list is rather long and may get longer.  These are people that I have no problem with at this point.  That is offered in the spirit of listening and learning.  There may be skeletons in the closet that make a real difference, not the ones that the media come up with.  There may be unacceptable positions on issues I am not aware of at this point.  This is what the primary process is about.

    Ben Carson
    Bobby Jindal
    Carly Fiorina
    Rick Santorum
    Scott Walker
    Ted Cruz

The anyone but Jeb and Chris list.  These are people who could generate my enthusiastic support but have shown some serious weaknesses.

    Marco Rubio
    Rick Perry

The unknowns
    Everyone else.  I would list them but there is a reason they are unknown.  Every time I see a list produced there are always a few I wonder, “Who is that?”  There might be gold still hiding in the hills.

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Opus 2015-79: Another Ally Heading for the Showers?

Barak Obama has done everything he can to weaken Israel.  He has fiddled while Yemen burned.  First the president was deposed, now the country is being overrun.  Now, because he is planning on giving the green light to Iran on nukes, Saudi Arabia is smelling the way the wind is blowing.  The president is playing golf.

Our enemies are laughing.  Our friends are shaking their heads.  The world as a whole is laughing.

Will we survive the next two years?

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-78: Church Shopping

I will soon be looking for a new church.  For the second time in my adult life a church is being done away with by the hierarchy of the denomination.  As far as I know the bills are all paid and the roof is not leaking but the powers-that-be have decided to give the building to another group that is considered more hip and with it.  I will visit a few times but it won’t be the same.

So I will be church shopping.

What am I looking for?

A church where the Bible is more than a pew decoration.  I am not even concerned about the translation.  I can live with the modern paraphrases as long as the pastor does his homework and points to eternal truth instead of trendy sound bites. 

A church where the “worship team” does not write their own music.  I don’t demand singing from the hymnal.  I realize that young people today have short attention spans and need a power point presentation like they got in school but I don’t need a group of Billboard Wannabees trying to get people to sing the song that “Jesus gave me while I was brushing my teeth.”  There is a lot of good new music but the chances are that they didn’t write it.  There is also a lot of good old stuff.

A church where politically correct is a swear word.  I want to be around people who are not afraid to think even if they disagree with me.  It keeps me sharp and sometimes even helps me to grow.

I guess another requirement is that it be within driving distance.  I know of churches that measure up but they are all in other states. 

The search begins.  Soon.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 27, 2015

Opus 2015-77: Rise and Shine

It was one of those mornings that are the reason people come to California.

At least until they taste the politics.

When I came out of the house the air was fresh and cool.  Some might have thought it chilly but the chemistry of my body at that moment gave a giggle of joy.  It just had the feel of being at home and at peace.

As I drove toward work the sky was beginning to admit that the sun was coming.  The sun itself was still putting on the shy act but there was enough of a hint to allow the mountains to announce they were still there.  The air was clear and it was a joy to lift my eyes up to the hills, to borrow a phrase from Psalms 121.  It was so glorious I occasionally forgot I shared the highway with narcissistic fools.

Even when I got out of the car at the bread place the air was celebrating the new day and telling me to cheer up.  That is easy for the morning to say.  It doesn’t have to try to teach 8th graders.

But I will take the glimmer of eternity when I can get it.  If heaven is better than this I can hardly wait.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Opus 2015-76: Give Me a Break

Is sacrificing a virgin on your agenda?  Maybe you have just returned from the ceremony.

I am talking about the Rites of Spring that were common in the old pagan cultures.  The worship of the earth is making a comeback.  Gaia worship is cool.  Part of that transformation is spring break.  You know, when the kids get a week off school in the spring for no apparent reason.  Spring break is a return to the cultural values of the past.  You may not be aware of it.  Ask yourself, “Why do schools take a week off this time of year?”  Why do we need a break in spring?

The original purpose was to observe Holy Week.  Holy Week is the time from Palm Sunday to Easter.  It begins with the Christian celebration of Jesus entering Jerusalem and ends with the Christian celebration of His resurrection from the dead.  It is the most sacred week in Christianity.  What we call “Spring Break” used to be called “Easter Vacation”.  It had a purpose and a reason.

Now its only purpose is to estrange us from the original purpose.

If your goal is to remove the influence of the Christian faith you need to divorce people from the actions that reinforce and acknowledge that faith.  Thus you must move the week everyone has come to expect away from the truth the church was trying to emphasize

Different school districts break at different times.  Some may even make a mistake and let you off during Holy Week.  Nobody is perfect.

In case you don’t know, Holy Week this year starts on March 29.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Opus 2015-75: The Worship of Science

I am not impressed when I hear, “Research shows....”

For years people have developed almost a blind faith in science and the results that scientific research produce.  I have a tendency to listen to reports and evaluate them based on whether they make sense with what I know.  You could call it the Common Sense Test.  Some call it using a Baloney Detector.  Either way, I question contemporary science almost as much as I question the claims I hear in advertisements.

It seems that I have been on the right track.  There is concern about what is being called a research “crisis of reproducibility.”  You can see it addressed at “Science is in a reproducibility crisis: How do we resolve it?”

The article starts off by stating, “Over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness that many experimentally established ‘facts’ don't seem to hold up to repeated investigation.” 

What does that mean?  It means that when researchers try to duplicate the results of research, it does not work.  The end result is that was reported in the journal cannot be repeated.  Yet it has been accepted and published as if it is the truth.

There are three qualities that are required for something to be accepted as a scientific fact:  It must be observable, measurable and repeatable.  Obviously if it can’t be repeated, something is wrong.

Why is this happening?  Another article at Prospect starts off this way,
“Think science always knows the whole truth? Errors are surprisingly common and many go undiscovered because they just aren’t seen as important enough, or because people take pains to hide them...”
So when you hear about how global warming is going to kill us all, salt is going to kill us all, guns are going to kill us all, etc., put on your thinking cap and take another look.  I know enough about history to know that the earth was much warming in A.D. 1000 than it is now.  I eat enough salt that if salt was deadly I must be a cat because I am on my ninth life.  If guns are that deadly, how come employees of gun stores are not the victims of random rounds?

Don’t let someone do your thinking for you because they have a test tube in their hand.  Even scientists make things up.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Opus 2015-74: Monday Pulpit: God’s Nostrils

A young man was leading in prayer in church and he said something to the effect that he wanted our lives to be a sweet savor in God’s nostrils.  My initial reaction was a loud “What!”  I almost said it out loud.

I am aware of the concept of giving off a spiritual fragrance both to God and to people around us.
(2 Corinthians 2:15 KJV)  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
But God’s nostrils?  It sounds like a swear word from Charles Dickens. 

So I did a little research.  I found “nostrils” 14 times in the NASB, 15 in the KJV.  Most of the time it refers to humans but a couple of times it is God’s nostrils that are being referenced.

I hope you are not one of those people that demands that everything in the Bible be taken literally.  Picture the image that could emerge.  We have two nostrils and also just one eye.
(Psalms 33:18 KJV)  Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;
The image has feathers and wings.
(Psalms 91:4 KJV)  He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
We begin to build a ridiculous picture, at least to Bible believing Christians.  If we were describing an Egyptian or Aztec deity, maybe; the God of the Bible, no.  If we wanted to be literal we might talk about hiding under His armpits but that loses the beauty of the poetic description.

So take the literal portions literally and the literary devices as literary devices.  It makes for better reading, and who knows?  You might find you actually understand it.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 23, 2015

Opus 2015-73: New Definition of Subversive

Keep in mind that media bias is not an American exclusive.

As I was skimming Drudge headlines a link caught my eye.  The article, from something called the International Policy Digest, was talking about the rise of a conservative politician in France.  You did not need to read far to notice loaded terms like “far right” and “controversial past.”  What got my attention was the third paragraph.
“None of this changes the fact that her political agenda remains subversive. She calls for an end to the EU and has adopted policies critical of the French allies, backing Putin’s annexation of Crimea. She also wants to raise wages and pensions, restore the retirement age to 60, as well as establish border controls and reinstate the death penalty.”
Notice the interesting definition of “subversive.”  It is subversive to call for an end for the EU and to criticize French policy. 

I guess if you are from the left this makes sense but to me it is called freedom of speech and freedom of expression. 

This is editorial rather than reporting.  Welcome to media bias.

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Opus 2015-72: Su-prise, Su-prise!

The Federal Government lied to a judge.  Close your mouth.  It makes you look like a Progressive.

The judge actually seems to have told the government lawyers that they made him look like a fool, according to Breitbart.  Wrong Sherlock.  The judge, by believing the Progressive attorneys, demonstrated that he was a fool.  Or a Harvard Law School graduate.  I’m sorry, I forgot they were synonyms.

If Obama and his Progressive allies will lie to a judge, what will they do to the American people?  Would they lie to us?  Oh....

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Opus 2015-71: Coming to a City Near You

Another day, another massacre.

You may not hear about this on the Daily Blab.  I don’t watch TV news so I don’t know.  Check out the British Independent.  It seems that there has been another suicide bombing, actually a double feature, in Yemen.  It seems that four Sunni Muslims gave special performances in two Shia mosques.  The death toll is uncertain but the numbers start at 120.

In case you are geographically challenged, you know, you went to an American public school, Yemen is far from here.  It is just south of Saudi Arabia, if you know where that is.  You don’t need to be afraid of these particular players.  Yemen is a country that you may have heard about recently where the elected leader, an American ally, stepped down to prevent bloodshed.  It would seem that our president left him hanging out to dry and he had no choice. 

It doesn’t seem to have stopped the bloodshed.

This was the Religion of Peace demonstrating what it means by peace.  At least 120 infidels have come to experience peace.  They are infidels because they did not agree with the bombers.  Of course, they would have called the bombers infidels.  It gets very confusing but rest assured that peace prevails.  Here is how the article sums it up.
“Many of the worshippers (sic) in the mosques were supporters of the Shia Houthi fighters who control the capital, and responsibility for the carnage was claimed by Isis which regards all Shia as heretics...”
The silver lining to this cloud of tragedy is that as long as the different sects of Islam are fighting each other they will be less able to kill everyone else that disagrees with them.  Historically they tend to hate each other even more than the Christians, Jews and Hindus that they also like to kill or subjugate. 

That may sound harsh but it is accurate.

Have a nice day.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-70: Do We Have a Prayer?

What is prayer?  What does it mean to pray?

I offer a simple definition:  Prayer is communicating with God.  Like many simple definitions the application gets more complex.

The popular conceptions of prayer take certain forms.

For most people the only prayer they come in contact with is done by a minister, from the pulpit.  Sometimes those prayers are written and carefully prepared ahead of time.  Sometimes they are reading prayers that have been written by others.  Then you have memorized prayers such as “Now I lay me down to sleep....”  And of course we have emergency pleas during a crisis.

I have participated in all those but I think that the most meaningful prayer is an offering made based on our personality and with a goal of communication. 

Some people are gregarious.  When they communicate with God they prattle on just like they would at lunch with a friend.  While it might drive the reticent crazy, God sees the heart and truly understands the mind.  He also has forever. 

I am more introspective.  When I am comfortable with someone I can sit for extended periods of time and say nothing.  I can just enjoy their presence.  I think of how it is when I visit my children.  Just being in the same house is a joy.  Watching them do what they need to do is satisfying.  Seeing them off to work is fulfilling.  At times we can get involved in long, intense discussions.  Other times we exchange a few words.  To me that is an example of how prayer works.

Since prayer is communication it also has a listening module.  I think of it as a conversation.  God speaks to me during prayer.  On rare occasions it is a very clear word or two.  Usually it is by impression or ideas that come to mind.  Sometimes it is a scripture that is remembered.  Like any message though, it requires listening.

This explains why Paul can say,
(1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV)  Pray without ceasing.
Prayer is a constant awareness of God’s presence and care.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 20, 2015

Opus 2015-69: Headlines: Are 16 Year Olds Being Drafted Now?

The watering down of the right to vote continues.

The president and his Progressive allies have been doing everything they can to make it possible for illegal immigrants to vote.  They view every new illegal as a guaranteed Democrat.  It is how they are trying to keep control of the country.  Now, in San Francisco, we see another approach. 

Breitbart reports that the city of San Francisco is moving toward lowering the voting age to 16.  The obvious reason is that the 16 year old population is even more ignorant than the 18 year olds and the Progressives need more brainwashed people to vote blindly for them. 

I don’t know how many 16 year olds you know.  They are the same as the rest of the population in many ways.  Some are clever, some are not.  Some are personable, some have questionable habits.  What they generally are not is informed.  Ask them to find Iraq on a map.  For that matter, ask them to find Washington, D.C. on a map.  Ask them what is in the first amendment.  Ask them who their senators are.

Then tell me they are ready to vote.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Opus 2015-68: Headlines: Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

So now Iran and Hezbollah are members of civil society.

I have seen this referred to at several places but you can find a summary on Power Line.

It seems that our administration has decided to drop a terrorist state and one of its minions from the list of terrorist threats.  This is a sweet deal that the president has made.  For all of his talk he seems determined to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and use them to threaten the rest of the world.

If you think TSA is crazy now, just wait until we face the threat of terrorists going nuclear.

Will America survive Obama?

I certainly hope so.  I am not planning on moving.  There is no place to go.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Opus 2015-67: Old and Young: Learning at My Age

Sometimes my ignorance astounds me.  At the same time it brings satisfaction.

I was cruising through the Drudge Report and saw a headline about something called “E!” and the “Fashion Police” being put on “hiatus”.  Ignorant me.  I thought that someone was actually taking a step toward allowing people freedom in how they dress. 

Not so.  As you probably know, “Fashion Police” is some kind of program that people who need a life watch.  I had no clue.  Now I do.

It just goes to show that you can learn something every day.  I am not sure it is worth the brain cells, but you can learn it.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 16, 2015

Opus 2015-66: Monday Pulpit: The Fall

In my Sunday School class I had a guest teacher.  He was going over various scriptures and one of them had to do with the sin of Adam and Eve.  After they had eaten of the forbidden fruit they had a revelation:  They were naked.  They had always been naked but for some reason this now made them ashamed.

When I am presented with things I have heard before my mind often looks for a new approach.  We were talking about original sin and the fall.  I was asking myself, “What would suddenly make them aware that being naked was a problem?”  One idea was the beginning of the sex drive.  I had another thought that popped into my head.

Adam and Eve were suddenly aware that they were naked.  Was this the beginning of puberty?

Blame the human condition on puberty.  Think about it.  Little children run around naked and don’t think anything about it.  Few adults are able to do so.  It is around the time of puberty that we get sensitive about out bodies.

Maybe puberty is a result of the Fall in the Garden of Eden.

(Note for heresy hunters:  This is speculative meandering, not a statement of doctrine.)

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Opus 2015-65: Firsts: A Pseudo-Coffee Snob

I can recognize a really bad cup of coffee.  A few times a cup of coffee in a generic restaurant has made me sit up, take notice and say, “Ahhhhh.”  In between there is a lot of wiggle room.

So I would not consider myself a coffee snob.

I have, however, begun to make coffee a hobby interest.  I moved to whole bean coffee and graduated to a burr grinder.  At times I will play around with a French press.  Most of what I prepare is in that vast middle of coffee-land.  It is Baby Bear coffee.

So I was a bit shocked when I became the coffee snob in the specialty coffee store.  I have found a few types of beans that I find interesting.  Kauai, Brazil Santos and the Mocha Java blend are three that I like.  I have tried Jamaican Blue Mountain but find that my bank balance is more delicate than my taste buds.

The store served sandwiches and such but their main draw was the dozen or so types of beans and blends that they roasted and sold.  They had coffees from four continents and a number of their own blends.  I asked a few questions and had the lady scoop out a couple of half pound packages.  I tried to get her opinion of other brews.  She had never even heard of the varieties I mentioned.  She finally confessed that the only coffees she knew were the ones they sold and Starbucks. 

Later in the day I broke my French press and went to buy another one.  She knew nothing about French presses. 

It is a strange experience knowing more than the specialists.

There is a first time for everything.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 13, 2015

Opus 2015-64: Ode to Old: The good old days

Some question whether they were really that good. 

Memory plays tricks on us in many ways but works just fine in others.  Some things were better when I was a child.  We had a lot more variety and choices in life.  We did not know the concept of one-size-fits-all.  Even that has been changed to one-size-fits-most.

Remember when you bought a shirt and you had to have your neck measured because they came in half inch increments.  If you wanted long sleeves, you needed to know how long your arms were.  Now in most stores you have a choice of S, M, L and XL.  In better stores they will have tall sizes.  Specific sizes are still available in the expensive store but even they carry many styles in the limited choices.

Remember shoes that fit.  When I go to the sporting goods store they seem to have one width:  M.  Since I used to measure at 4E, that doesn’t do well for me.

How about notebook paper?  I still have notebooks that I can’t find paper for any more.  You used to have a multitude of sizes and numbers of holes.  It was exciting just filling your notebook.  Now it seems to be 8 ½  by 11 for all needs.

I teach 8th grade.  I remember when I was at that level.  I had a choice of four foreign languages, five different industrial arts and a full program of interscholastic sports.  We had choices and we were scheduled for our choices without the use of computers.  I had a semester of art and a semester of music.  Now we have none of those but we do have study hall and office practice.

There is one area that things have really improved:  Yearbooks.  When I was in middle school they were paper bound and all black and white.  Now they are hard bound, glossy and full color.  This is called progress by educators.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Opus 2015-63: Dynamic Duo

My mind goes back to the president recently visiting Saudi Arabia.  If I may paraphrase, for the first time in my life I am proud of our current first lady.

The sight of Michelle Obama standing behind her kowtowing husband with her head held high and no scarf on it, warmed my heart.  Take that, ISIS.

Islam does not really require women to be totally covered like some Muslim cultures go postal about but they are expected to have their heads covered.  It is a mark of submission.  Michelle Obama knew this and refused to comply.  She stood the two steps back.  I assume she was courteous and polite.  But when it came to the mark of submission, she stared them in the eye and refused to bend.  I picture her doing this while her husband is bowing like a peasant to the Saudi royalty.

So let us give credit where credit is do.  Good job, Mrs. Obama.

But we do need to talk about this school lunch thing.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Opus 2015-62: Politically Correct Nom de Plumes

We all know about the oxymorons like jumbo shrimp.  It is also a jump to accept that “new” and “improved” always go together.

Those are advertising and sales.  I can deal with that.  What I find more irritating is how our language is constantly being watered down with politically correct phrases that demonstrate ignorance of history and geography.

Take for instance the term “native American.”  I have always thought that was a real retard of a term.  A native is someone born in a country as opposed to an immigrant.  Since I was born in this country, I am a native American.  Since the American Indian tribes migrated to North America from Asia they are no more “native” than the Scots who migrated from the British Isles.

Or how about “African American.”  It has replace “black,” which replaced “Negro,” which replaced “colored,” etc.  Get out a map of Africa.  What do you see running across the coast?  You see Arabic nations.  At the southern tip of the continent you have the Republic of South Africa, which has a hefty white population.  On the east coast you have the Swahili culture which is a combination of East Indian, Arabic and black African.  Technically an immigrant from Egypt would be an African American.  African-American?  It includes just about everyone.

Then you have the Progressives.  This is a resurrection.  “Progressive” was a title used by old time socialists in the early 20th century.  They were known to be backers of Benito Mussolini and his Fascist approach to government.   Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a Progressive.  Part of her program was eugenics which included the elimination of the inferior races.  That was one reason she pushed abortion so much.  So we have a historic group who wanted to abort babies and have the government control business and manufacturing.  Yes, that sounds like our modern Progressives.

One of the reasons that the new Common Core Curriculum standards ignore history is that history gives you a context in which to think and modern education wants the mindless classes to avoid thinking at any cost.

Maybe it is time to resurrect the concept of Bread and Circuses.  Oh, wait.  We already have the EBT card being accepted at fast food joints and liquor stores.

These people are hard to keep ahead of.

homo unius libri

Monday, March 9, 2015

Opus 2015-61: On the Street: The Look of Hope

Have you noticed how many people are looking to the left for their hope?

The people I am talking about are the ones at the bus stops around the country.  I noticed this today as I was driving to work.  A man stood out in the predawn cold, leaning out over the curb, looking to his left, his face full of hope.  For him to look to the left was for me to look behind.  I found that symbolic.  There was no bus in sight.  I looked ahead.  He continued looking to the left.

Public transportation has its place, I guess.  If I am ever desperate or looking for a way to waste a lot of time, I will consider it.  Last year when my wife was in the hospital and my daughter was in town, I thought about taking the bus across Los Angeles so that I could be the one to drive home.  At the mention of my idea the entire family rose up in arms.  They didn’t want me getting mugged.

I prefer to set my own schedule and pick my own route.  It is part of the American psyche, or it was.  The Progressives of the Nanny State want to put us all in public transportation so the roads will be clear for their limousines. 

Remember, in a socialist state only the elites live in comfort.

And I hope your bus was not cancelled.

homo unius libri

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Opus 2015-60: Jimi Hendrix, Role Model?

As part of our annual celebration of Black History month the school highlights various people who became famous or successful and were black.  This week we received a hand-out with a word search on the back for someone that I guess is supposed to be a role model for students:  Jimi Hendrix.

I am not a fan of his style of music but I know who he is and his reputation.  I also know that he died of a drug overdose.  The hand-out made no mention of his drug use or cause of death but when I asked, the kids knew.  He may have been a fabulous musician but he is hardly the best choice for a role model for middle school children.

This is an example of the discernment that your local educators have.

homo unius libri

Friday, March 6, 2015

Opus 2015-59: CCC: Mediocre Is the New Excellent

Common Core Curriculum (CCC) continues its march toward mediocrity, or worse.

I was attending our bi-weekly faculty indoctrination and we had a special speaker.  She was special because we were told she was special.  In the usual patronizing speech of gurus she told us that she was not really the expert.  We the teachers were the experts.  She was not here to lecture us on what we were supposed to do.

She then proceeded to lecture us on what we were supposed to do.

Part of the tremendous wisdom that was imparted was that we can’t expect the students to write in cursive, read, speak or make complete sentences if they didn’t feel like it.  That is counter productive.  You can’t teach someone unless they are doing it their way.  Fun is assumed.  There is a joke I tell sometimes.  It goes like this.  “What is a four letter word, ending in ‘k’ that is considered a dirty word in middle school?  The answer, “Work.”

The reason they didn’t feel like it was not because they were lazy, but because they had a unique learning style that we needed to accommodate.  We were told that cutting edge teaching under the new Common Core Standards meant that the students needed to study what they wanted to study using the methods they were most comfortable with and produce results in the format they were best at doing. 

Using this logic when you go to a restaurant and order egg plant parmigiana you should be happy to get a scrambled egg if that is what the chief felt like making or a Big Mac if he didn’t feel like cooking at all.  When you get on an airplane for Dallas the pilot may be in a mood for some Cajun and take you to New Orleans. 

As I looked around I felt like I was in my history class.  A large number of the teachers were playing with their cell phones.  A few more were on their lap tops.  I am sure they were taking notes.  Most of the rest had a dazed look on their faces.  When later I shared some of the things that had been said with another teacher I got the response, “You were actually listening!”

That was the voice of shock.

I think we may be approaching the day when mediocre is considered the new standard of excellence.  Oops, that was another dirty word.  It speaks of judgement and inequality.

Shame, shame.

homo unius libri

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Opus 2015-58: Esther and the Second Amendment

Who would have thought that the principles of the Second Amendment would would be demonstrated in the Old Testament?

I am listening to Alistair Begg preach through the book of Esther.  For those who have not read it recently, it is a short book that tells of a young woman who risked her life to save her people. 

It is on pages 532 to 540.

The bad guy in the story, Haman, had conned the king of Persia.  He had convinced the king to give him authority to kill all the Jews in the kingdom. 
(Esther 3:9 NAS77)  "If it is pleasing to the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who carry on the king's business, to put into the king's treasuries."
And the king gave him the authority.

It is not a long book.  You can read it in one setting if you want.  My point deals with the solution.

Esther, who was queen, was a Jew.  She used a convoluted method to get the king to turn agains Haman, but that left a problem.  When the king of the Medes and the Persians made a declaration and put his seal on it, it could not be revoked.  Esther and her adoptive father, Mordicai, came up with a solution.
(Esther 8:11 NAS77)  In them the king granted the Jews who were in each and every city the right to assemble and to defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate the entire army of any people or province which might attack them, including children and women, and to plunder their spoil,
The answer was to allow people to arm themselves.  The followers of Haman who wanted to follow the get rich quick scheme suddenly realized that the victims were armed and dangerous.  Somehow the permission they had been given to slaughter the Jews lost its luster.

The average citizen was not allowed to have weapons.  They were not highly trained and were being attacked by professional soldiers.  Being allowed to arm themselves was enough.

The same should apply today.  We as citizens were originally guaranteed the right to defend ourselves.  The same would work today.  You don’t need to be a ninja or Navy Seal.  If the criminal knows you can fight back he will look for an easier target.
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Maybe the Founders knew something the Progressives are trying to hide.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Opus 2015-57: Ode to Old: Saving Water

I remember when my mother was getting toward the end of her life.  One of the changes that took place in her life was trying to economize by not flushing the toilet.  I understand this is a common practice among the elderly.  Don’t worry.  I am not there yet.

What strikes me is that our Progressive (aka Liberal, Democrat, Rino, Socialist, Communist) environmentalists seem to be going down the same road.  We are running out of water in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.  One solution that is being proposed by these champions of progress and public health is to not flush the toilet so often.

I am still wondering if all this water being conserved will cause the sewer system to get clogged up because there is not enough fluid moving to wash the pipes.  Will this cause an increase in disease?  Will this cost millions in maintenance? 

Could it be that the Progressives are exhibiting signs of dementia and paranoia?  It would certainly explain a lot of what they advocate.

So please flush.  Show me that you are sane.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Opus 2015-56: Black History Assembly, Part 3 of 3, Advocates of Revolution

Spend a little time at the sight.  If you follow the links to the Ten Point Program and Rules of the Black Panther Party you find some goals that seem worthy.  It talks about freedom and opportunity.  But keep reading.  For instance take point two.
“2.  We Want Full Employment For Our People.”
Sounds noble.  Who could argue with that?  Keep reading about how they want to do it.
“We believe that the federal government is responsible and obligated to give every man employment or a guaranteed income. We believe that if the White American businessmen will not give full employment, then the means of production should be taken from the businessmen and placed in the community so that the people of the community can organize and employ all of its people and give a high standard of living.”
Communism didn’t work when they controlled the Soviet Union.  It didn’t work when they controlled China and ran it according to their principles.  It isn’t working in Cuba.  Communism wants to guarantee a “high standard of living” even to people who have not earned it.  What happens is the political bosses live high and the rest of the people stand in bread lines.

I could go on.  It shows a willful blindness and ignorance, if not evil intent, to glorify the Black Panther Party to a bunch of middle school children who are even more ignorant than the adults in their lives, if such a thing is possible.

What is also interesting is the extensive quotation of the Declaration of Independence at the end.  I have to hand it to them there.  It advocates revolution.  So do they.

Should we be listening?

homo unius libri

Monday, March 2, 2015

Opus 2015-55: Black History Assembly, Part 2 of 3, The Snake in the Rocks

Or maybe it should be the cat in the weeds.

Let’s get a view of who the Black Panther Party really is.  We will look at the Communist understanding of the Black Panther Party, since they were very supportive of the group.  For more, you can go to a Communist site, the Marxist Internet Archive.  Keep in mind that this is the Communist web sight and has the best possible spin on this group.

The opening paragraph gives a good summary of who The Black Panther Party was.
“In October of 1966, in Oakland California, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The Panthers practiced militant self-defense of minority communities against the U.S. government, and fought to establish revolutionary socialism through mass organizing and community based programs. The party was one of the first organizations in U.S. history to militantly struggle for ethnic minority and working class emancipation — a party whose agenda was the revolutionary establishment of real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines.”
The Marxist website considers the Black Panther Party to be a supporter of Communist revolution and worldwide domination.  If you are too young to remember and too lazy to read, the Communist Party was dedicated to the goal of overthrowing the United States Government by violent rebellion.  Read the paragraph above and notice all the references that have the United States as the enemy.

They are not sharp enough to edit what they write to avoid giving away the game.  For instance, in a paragraph that was supposed to demonstrate police brutality you find the following:
“In a 90 minute gun battle, an unarmed Bobby Hutton Bobby Hutton is shot ten times dead, after his house is set ablaze and he is forced to run out into a fire of bullets.”
How was there a 90 minute gun battle if Bobby Hutton was “unarmed?”  If he was unarmed, why didn’t they just walk into the house and arrest him?

To be continued...

homo unius libri

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Opus 2015-54: Black History Assembly, Part 1 of 3, A Good Time Had by All

For the most part a good time was had by all but the Brain Wash Cult can’t resist the chance to slip in distortions.

We have an annual assembly to emphasis Black History Month, or in modern politically correct language, African American History Month.  Some years it is really educational.  Some years it is mainly reinforcing racial stereotypes:  American blacks can dance and sing.  This year was a party with a bit of history mixed in.  The kids had fun, the teachers were good sports about surrendering their dignity and numerous black Americans who have made contributions in science and business were mentioned.  I don’t remember any emphasis on sports.  Good job.

As I said, a good time was had by all.

But the Progressive Brain Washers can’t keep their sticky fingers off history.  Did you know that the Black Panthers were warm hearted community organizers.  We saw a lot of slides of these noble creatures giving out free lunches and being kind and generous.

Of course if you are old enough to have lived through those days you remember the violence and death that was dished out.

At this point we move beyond the assembly to why praising the Black Panthers is inappropriate.

To be continued...

homo unius libri