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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Opus 2015-404: Diverse American Directions

Americans are incredibly creative and inventive.  People who want to get ahead in life and be successful can be very original in finding ways to get around the roadblocks that government puts in the way to prevent their progress.  That is the good news.  It is called the free market and sometimes confused with capitalism

The bad news is that there are other Americans, just as clever, who are working for the government trying to come up with regulations to expand their personal power and limit the chances of success of the first group.  This is called Communism and is sometimes watered down as socialism.

Which will prove more powerful, the greed for creating wealth or the greed for power and control?  The government has the coercive power of the state.  They have the ability to pass laws and if they can’t get the laws passed they do what President Obama is doing so well.  They issue edicts and regulations with the force of law.  If you violate them you are harassed, fined and/or imprisoned.  It is up to you to hire a lawyer to prove them wrong.  And when you win they ignore the judgement or tweak the ruling and keep oppressing.

There is always the chance that they will overstep their power and cause an uprising of the masses.  If we are blessed with an able leader then liberty can get some breathing room.  If another egocentric despot takes charge we can have bloody insurrection and whatever comes out will be a just a different form of tyranny.

The worst case scenario is what we see unfolding with the two groups working together and forming a fascist state where crony capitalism colludes to keep everything in its control.  Mark Levin in his book Plunder and Deceit seems to think we can wake up the younger generation and see a change.  I work with them on a daily basis.  Don’t count on it.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Opus 2015-403: Salt or Tofu

It sounds like the same title but it isn’t. 

Let me say that I think all Americans are going to need to make a choice soon.  We are going to be forced to pick Jesus or jihad.  There will be no middle ground.

You see it happening in Europe now.  Years ago Europe in its so called Enlightenment citadel looked down its nose at the teaching of Christianity.  They figured that the thinking of the humanist philosophers had moved beyond superstition and ignorance and they were now the cherry on the top of the pie.  How is that working for them now?

Blase Pascal in Pensee said when talking about this kind of thing,
“But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself.” Kindle location Highlight Loc. 2150-51, from Project Gutenberg text.
People are going to try to fill that “abyss” with something.  That is part of the reason why otherwise rational people saturate themselves with video games, drugs, alcohol and perversions.  They are looking for something that will take away their awareness of being empty inside. 

That is the part of jihad and suicide bombers that the secular world will never understand.  They want to think that these people are aberrations so they come up with terms like “fanatical” and  “extremist” to describe what is simply genuine application of Islam as taught in the Koran.  That book endorses deceit, rape, pillage and murder against people who are not “true” believers.  I urge you to read the book.  Don’t take selected passages as proving anything.

The emptiness of European hearts will not stand against the fire of Islam.  The question I am asking is “Will American hearts stand against Islam if they are also empty?”  The answer is “No.”  We still have a fair number of Americans who have the void filled by the living God.  That God teaches the opposite of deceit, rape, pillage and murder.  It is all in the book.  I urge you to read it.

And make a decision because I assure you, you will have to live with it.  Or die with it.  That is not a threat from me, a Christian, but a promise from them.  Take a side.  It is Jesus or Jihad.  It is us or ISIS.  It is turning the other cheek, loving your neighbor as yourself and feeding your enemies or it is locking prisoners of war in cages and setting them on fire.

There really only two doors and no consolation prizes.  Choose wisely.

homo unius libri

Monday, September 28, 2015

Opus 2015-402: Google Leadership

I wrote this before Boehner announced his resignation.

I was trying to make sure of my spelling of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner so I Googled “leaders in congress” and got an interesting response.  First of all, Google took me literally and emphasized the members of the House of Representatives.  Okay, Google can’t read my mind.  As the kids and a lot of immature adults say, “My bad.”  What was more startling was that as I looked down the list of short digests I only saw Democrat names.  I did not see one Republican.  I am sure that when I open them up and scroll down I will find something.

Or will I?  Do any Republicans deserve to be listed in a search for “leaders in congress”?

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-401: Salt, Not Tofu

It is time for the church to be salt again.  At times it feels like it is already too late.

Have you ever felt that way?  Society is falling apart.  Morals have been ignored and bypassed.  Ethics is a word for debate instead of a standard of behavior.  I feel that way on a regular basis.  I am currently reading Mark Levin’s Plunder and Deceit and his endless examples of government and elitist malfeasance is genuinely depressing.  I feel abandoned and helpess.

Good.  That is the way I am supposed to feel.  It may take a few more pillars of the community being arrested for doing and thinking like America used to do and think before we all wake up.  I am praying for a growing alarm.

Good, if we turn to the right solutions.  Historically that has been revolution and violence.  The result is almost always worse than the cause.  Look what Russia got when the Communists took over the revolution.  Look at France under the reign of terror.  America was one of the few exceptions.  We are now being dissolved as a free republic and transformed into an oligarchy. 

The only hope for this country is if the church goes back to being the church.  I have not finished Levin’s book yet.  I will.  I am in the last chapter and the big weakness I see is not his analysis of the problem but the solution he offers.  He is calling for the younger generation to wake up and get politically active.  That would be good, but if they don’t deal with the problem that caused it there will be no real change.  The problem is in the selfishness of the heart.  Levin refers to it in passing but whiffs his swing.

The church used to be prophetic.  It stood up in public and called down the demagogues of society whether they were political or religious.  They often went to jail or the stake for their impertinence but they spoke the words that moved society forward.  The church used to be salt, now it is just tofu.

Tofu takes on the flavor of the world around it.  Put it with fish and you have seafood.  Add chicken broth and you have something that tastes like frogs legs.  In reality it is neither fish nor fowl.  It is the chameleon of foods.  The church should be calling sin what it is and calling people to repentance.  Instead it is saying the Bible is wrong and society has a point and can’t we all just get along.  In fear of losing its place at the table and its tax exempt status the church is taking the lead in gutting the one defense we had against the wrath of God.

If you are one of those who are anti-Christian you need to do a little honest historical reading.  I don’t mean the distortions put together by modern liberals.  Ask yourself who was behind educating the masses?  Who started hospitals and orphanages?  Who lead the fight against slavery?  Who started things like the Boy Scouts? 

Give me salt.  Let the tyrants of the world keep their tofu.

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Opus 2015-400: One of the Big Questions of Life

I am not going to take a poll but there is a question that has been bothering me since I was old enough to dress myself.  I was not aware of it, but the nagging question needed to be asked at least once a day.

Does it really matter if your underwear is inside-out?

Like I said, I am not going to take a poll.  For one thing, it has probably already been done.  For another I am not sure that the nation’s opinion is important to me.  I don’t want you to think I don’t care what you think.  I am sensitive to your feelings, but to be honest, I don’t care what you think, if you get my drift.

I have heard stories about mothers who were fixated on clean underwear.  You know the mantra about how embarrassed they would be if you had to go to the hospital and had on dirty underwear.  My mother never played that head trip.  Besides, she washed my underwear and so knew my patterns.  But she did not check to see if I put them on correctly and I don’t remember ever having a life lesson on this issue.  I guess some things are supposed to come naturally.

I am also not going to share with you how I have resolved this tension in my own life.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 25, 2015

Opus 2015-399: Election 2016: News or Views?

I made a comment about the article in the NY Times about Walker’s withdrawal.  I also made a comment about the unreliable nature of the Times.  Let me give you an example of the distortion.

In the first paragraph the Times says Walker, “urged some of his 15 rivals to do the same so the party could unite against the leading candidate, Donald J. Trump.”

That was in the first paragraph.  Admit it.  Most of us don’t read beyond that.  We expect the basic to be there and time is limited.  That is very dangerous in a left wing source. 

If you keep reading you come across this,
“Without naming Mr. Trump, Mr. Walker issued a plea to fellow candidates to coalesce around a different Republican who could offer a more “optimistic” vision and guide the party to a victory next year that, he admitted with sadness in his voice, he could not achieve himself.”
So which is it.  Did he urge people to unite against Trump or was he simply calling on the conservatives to pull together?  Was it stated or implied?  Since the newspaper says later that he did not mention Trump, why would they assert at the beginning that he did?

Never believe the liberal media.  Like all elitists in the Nanny State, they want to keep you safe.  In this case it is safe from thinking for yourself and drawing your own conclusions.

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Opus 2015-398: Election 2016: The Sifting Begins

Well, it has started. 

When Rick Perry dropped out of the race I was not too disappointed.  While I rated him higher than the establishment candidates, he was not my top choice. 

Now Scott Walker has announced he is out, according to the NY Times.  That hurts.  He would have been one of my top choices, if not the top.  I had hopes but the process has started.  I remember the last few elections as one by one the people that I had at the top of my list dropped out.  Then we were left with Bob Dole, we lost.  Then we were left with John McCain, we lost.  Then we were left with Mitt Romney, we lost. 

Who are we going to be left with this time?  There are still some good candidates.  Walker makes a good point when he urges us to unite behind one who can win.  History tells us that we cannot win with a moderate.

The thing that scares me in the ariticle was that it said Walker had the support of one half a percent of the primary voters.  I knew I was an oddball but didn’t think I was that odd.  No wonder I am always forced to settle for 10th best.

Since the article is in the New York Times you need to take every detail with a grain of salt.  I think we can accept that Walker has withdrawn.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Opus 2015-397: Channeling Jefferson

One of the great divides in history that is usually overlooked is the difference in philosophy between the George Washington branch of the Founding Fathers and the Thomas Jefferson branch.  Every year when I go through the Constitution I point out to the students that Thomas Jefferson was not at the Constitutional Convention.  If he had been there we would not have the freedoms we now have.  In my opinion we might have degenerated into the glories of the French Revolution which Jefferson praised for so long. 

That is a discussion for another day.

What I came across while reading a biography of John Marshall was a section that talked about the attitude of the Continental soldier towards Jefferson.  While the soldiers were starving, going naked and did not have enough arms to fight, the soldiers were wondering where the author of the Declaration of Independence was.  Even Washington wrote to a friend, “in the present situation of things, I cannot help asking - where is Mason - Wythe - Jefferson?”, p. 126

The author explains.
“...Jefferson was in the State Legislature.  But he was not there merely enjoying office and exclusively engaged in party politics as Washington more than intimates.  He was starting such vital reforms as the abolition of entails, the revision of the criminal code, the establishment of a free school system, the laying of the legal foundations of religions freedom.
    “In short Jefferson was sowing the seeds of liberalism in Virginia.” p. 128
He goes on.  He is willing to forgive Jefferson of almost anything because he was a great writer and politician.  He shares that Jefferson admitted he was not suited for the soldiers life and combat.  If we could use that logic for us common folks, then how big would our army have been during World War II.  Would anyone have gone to Korea or Vietnam?  I hated army life.  I am not a warrior.  I can write a clever sentence and know where to put periods.

We are looking at the beginnings of the class differences that some people, such as Jefferson, believed in even as they talked about inalienable rights.  We still have those people with us.  They want to tell us how we should live, while they live in isolated splendor.  Picture Al Gore and the money he has made manipulating our carbon footprints.  Picture Mitch McConnell saying, “We will get them next time.”

It is time to expect everyone to follow the same laws and risk the same consequences.  Will Hillary go to jail?  Stupid question.  Would you or I go to jail?  Obvious answer. 

The Jeffersons of life are still with us.

Beveridge, Albert J.  The Life of John Marshall, Vol. 1.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Opus 2015-396: Election 2016: Childish Choice

I think of Donald Trump as the little boy, or child in modern gender sensitive times, who asked why the king had no clothes.

The boy was open and guileless.  He was literal and frank.  He asked a question that needed to be asked.  He woke the people up.  I would still not want him for president.  I would also not want his parents who were going along to get along.  I would not want anyone else in the population.  That leaves only the little boy.  I hope that is not where we go again this cycle.

Can’t you just imagine the debate possibilities.  Hillary, “You greedy capitalist pig, living off the blood of the masses.”  Trump, “You’re ugly.”  Bernie, “You greedy capitalist pig, living off the blood of the masses.”  Trump, “You’re a Communist fool who never had a real job.”  Joe, just about anything.  Trump, “Why is that foot in your mouth?”

The nation that elected Obama twice may not deserve better, but I sure do.

So we can be thankful for what Donald Trump brings to the table but hope for other guests and count the silverware after the meal is over.

homo unius libri

Monday, September 21, 2015

Opus 2015-395: Headlines: Here We Go Again.

Another teen is assaulted by the police.  Sound familiar.  The LA Times has the usual distortions in place.

The opening paragraph and headline are all that most people will read and they are a designed to incite the community.  From the headline:
    Police tackle teen for jaywalking.

From the first paragraph:
    Four policemen tackle a 16 year old boy.
    They take him to the ground.
    The “alleged” offense is jaywalking.

Even I might get upset if that were all the facts, but consider, when I was 16 years old I was over 6' 1" and weighed over 215.  I know that because those were my numbers when I was 14. 

As we keep reading we see a growing picture.
    Unnecessary force
    Minor violation
    Defenseless child
    An offense never enforced

Only in the sixth paragraph do we begin to be enlightened about what actually happened.  There are 17 paragraphs, some short but still 17.  In paragraph 5 it says he had just got off his bus and in 6 the witness says he was going to his bus.  Which was it.  The policeman asks him to sit down.  So far all is normal.  Based on what I read toward the end the kid was walking in the street where the bus needed to go, so he was impeding traffic.  Of course this is not mentioned until paragraph 13.  In that paragraph we also get the information that the officer was assigned to the traffic center which gives us a little more context.  Walking in the bus lane in a busy terminal is a little different from jaywalking on a country road.

As you read you put together this story.  A kid gets off a bus and starts walking in the traffic lane of a busy bus terminal.  A policeman asks him to get out of the street.  He ignores the policeman.  The cop tries to get him to sit down.  He ignores the cop.  The policeman puts his hand on the kid, he shakes it off.  The officer takes out his baton, not to hit the kid but use as a tool to restrain him.  A struggle ensues.  The kid is induced to sit but continues to resist.  The cop hits him with the baton.  A large crowd gathers.  The cop tells him to stop resisting and the quote from the kid is “get off”.  Somehow I don’t think that was an accurate quote.  At this point people in the crowd start screaming at the policeman.  Somewhere in here he called for backup.  He told the kid to turn around, I assume so he could put on handcuffs.  He refused.  It is at this point, after an extended confrontation and surrounded by a hostile crowd that three other officers showed up and they tackled the boy.  In here we also find that the kid pushed the cop away and tried to take away his baton.

Nowhere is there any description of the teen.  Was he a little 90 pound weakling dressed in a coat and tie on his way to Sunday School?  Was he a 250 bruiser with his underwear showing and his hat on backwards? 

Was this police brutality?  Sorry, I don’t see it.  But I am afraid I am just an old white guy of reasonable intelligence who is concerned for truth.  I am not qualified to say.  I wonder if Barak Obama will invite him to the White House for a photo-op. 

Feel free to read it yourself.

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Opus 2015-394: Link: The Bomb that Could Have Been

This is a “must read” at Mostly Cajun about the recent media frenzy about the bomb/clock brought to a school by a child with a Muslim name. 

The writer has experience with modern explosives and makes it clear that this could have easily been a bomb strong enough to do serious damage.  In other words, the teacher, administration of the school and police did the right thing.  The president again acted the fool for a chance at a photo op.  Notice the alert that this is a dry run for the real thing.

I wonder if the secret service would have let someone bring this device into the White House.  I wonder if Obama would have gone screaming out the back door if they did.

We are being set up by a compliant media and an America-as-you-knew-it hater.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-393-100: The Mystery of Prolific Writing

It is very humbling to realize that no one noticed that I made an error in my clever numbering system.  Some time in August I went from Opus 267 to Opus 368 in one day.  That is a lot of writing. 

I often will get it off by one and when I move things around I notice the error and correct it, usually a few minutes after I post.  I guess I am good at little mistakes and not so good at the big ones.  That must say something about my nit picking personality.  It suddenly occurred to me that there was no way I have been averaging two posts a day.

Since I am also lazy I decided to just keep on where I am instead of going back and changing everything.  Let future generations wonder what happened to the missing posts of Pumice.  Maybe it will go down as a conspiracy by the Obama administration.  That would fit.  They get blamed for the one thing they did not do.  They would probably say “Bush did it.”

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Opus 2015-392: Breadlines

Breakfast was cheaper, but I had to use a plastic knife. 

I had planned my trip to the doctor.  It was in another town.  I had never been there before and did not know the traffic patterns or parking issues.  In order to avoid surprises I Googled a place for breakfast and went early.  I planned my usual morning routine and ordered the same bread and coffee I have every morning.  I thought a mistake had been made because it didn’t cost as much at my home-base Panera.  No, they just didn’t charge as much.

I can live with that, but when I was presented with my order it had a cheap plastic knife instead of the stainless cutlery I was used to.  I am not too good to use plastic but you have to be careful trying to spread cold, hard butter or the knife will surrender before the butter. 

I made it through the morning but it occurred to me, you get what you pay for.  Unless of course you have an EBT card and then you get what someone else pays for.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 18, 2015

Opus 2015-391: An Idea for Better Schools

I think schools would be better if teachers were paid by the head?  School districts are paid that way.  Schools are reimbursed that way.  Why not teachers?  The current system encourages school districts to have large classes and syphon off the money that should go to keep them small.

So here is a suggestion for school reform.  Pay a teacher by the number of student grades they are responsible for.  I have about 160 students for regular classes plus another 40 for something called advisory.  Pick a number and multiply it by 200.  I was talking to a substitute a few days ago and he said his assignment was a breeze because there were very few kids in the classes.  I watch the class across the room and is usually has about have the numbers I have.  Should those teachers be paid the same as me? 

But this isn’t about paying me more.  I am asking how can we get the school districts to cut down on class size and the motivate experienced teachers to take the larger classes.  Using this system, teachers would be encouraged to take the extra work.  Administrators would be encouraged to keep classes small.  Somewhere in the middle we could get a mix that would produce better results than we are getting now.

Just one small piece in a big puzzle.

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Opus 2015-390: Organic Garden Report

It is that time of year again.

I reported last year about how a group of do-gooders came to our school and planted a garden.  It was to be organic and healthy.  It was going to change our school culture.  Children would flock to the furrows to learn about how things grow.  It would release the pent up agrarian in their souls.  It would supply fresh vegetables to our school cafeteria which would be served to grateful children by unicorns and fairy princesses.  All children are above average in Lake Wobegon and at our school.  And they all lived happily ever after.

Well, the garden is still there and still being tended.  How do I know?  I never see any actual work being done and it certainly isn’t being done by the students.  What I see are new piles of mulch and a wheelbarrow that is in a different location on occasion.  Since we are also in drought conditions they planted fewer seeds and are watering less.  What that means is less growth and production. 

It is not promising.

This year is a true demonstration of where the world would be if we all went organic and everyone tried to save all the water for the fish up north as we have done in California.  This year I am getting no tomatoes.  First, there are fewer plants and the survivors are stunted.  Blame that on the water conservation.  Second, there are not enough tomatoes being produced to leave any for the humans.  The bugs get them all.  As soon as they start to turn red the part of the food chain that is on site starts its own harvest.

If you are wealthy enough to pay the extra cost of organic and it makes you feel healthier or better than the common folk, go for it.  I hate to point out to you that you are lining the pockets of the capitalists who have hired illegals, underpaid them and sold the results at inflated prices to make you feel good.  It is a win/win because it makes them feel good too.

If you really want to feel good we could use a little help in our garden.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Opus 2015-389: The Most Important Subject

Why is history important?  Why do I tell kids it is the most important subject?  I am serious when I say it, but they look at me like I am crazy.

If life is a journey, math and science are like the credit cards and car that make the journey easier.  English is the road signs telling you what is at an off-ramp or at the end of a road.  History explains why you are on the trip, where you are going and helps you to decide what is the best way to get to your destination.  History is the mind that puts the rest to use.

History is the part of life that enables us to know if we are making any progress.  It allows us to compare where we were to where we are.  It is the shore line, not the water.  I can be moving through the water at a steady 10 MPH but if the current is 11 MPH I am losing ground.  Is the world getting warmer?  Even science can’t seem to give us an honest answer.  When you throw in politics and journalism you might as well give up.  But don’t give up.  Take the worst temperatures they can throw at you and get out your history books.  You will find that the earth was warmer 1000 years ago without automobiles and big carbon foot prints.  Maybe it was caused by the large number of whales in the ocean.  If cows cause so much methane, why didn’t the buffalo that covered the plains have the same effect?  Maybe buffalo are like liberals, their poop don’t stink.  Oops, there goes my scientific logic again.

Another example is the person that tells you they lost three pounds this week.  A few weeks later they tell you they lost three pounds.  A few weeks later that same, and the pattern continues.  What they don’t tell you is that they gained four pounds a week in between and the beginning and ending weights.  Sound familiar?  Have you been there?  Don’t you hate history?

One of the reasons that history, and public scales, are not being emphasized anymore is because that allows you to notice that the king used to wear clothes that you could see.

Guess what I teach.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Opus 2015-388: Self-Policing

One of the concerns everyone seems to have over the “agreement” with Iran is that the Iranians will be expected to police themselves.  We see this as absolutely absurd but try to look at it from the politicians’ point of view.  Who polices our government?  What outside force has ever been able to get into the inner workings of the Obama administration?  They send the Justice Department to investigate what Hillary Clinton did in the State Department.  Really?  That has always seemed absurd to me.  Even when they appoint a special prosecutor, the appointment is in their hands, not ours.

So what is strange about that arrangement again?  If we put up with it in our government why should we be surprised when they offer it to the mullahs. 

homo unius libri

Monday, September 14, 2015

Opus 2015-387: Liberty Butter

I was wrong in my suspicion but found that the truth was worse than my cynicism.

I am talking about the butter at breakfast.  At one time they had a large crock full of butter in individual pats sitting by the sugar, salt and napkins.  You could take what you wanted without having to wait for someone to get it for you.  Then one day it disappeared behind the counter.

It turns out it is government regulation rather than corporate greed.

I assumed that the bean counters decided that people were taking too much butter and wanted to ration it.  I was irritated but that is a business decision.  They have a right to make a profit and stay in business.  I have a right to go somewhere else if I find things too inconvenient.

I was wrong.  I not only lost my butter but lost a little freedom.

I asked one of the employees about it one time.  He said an audit they found that the butter was not cold enough when it was left out on the counter.  Evidently there is some government regulation about how cold butter is supposed to be kept.  It doesn’t matter that butter can sit out at room temperature for days and have no ill effects.  As someone pointed out, butter was developed in an age of no refrigeration in an effort to find a use for the milk that would go bad.  They don’t care that I like my butter soft so it will spread instead of destroying the bread.  They simply saw another way to protect me, keep me safe and mess up my life with a power grab. 

So my apologies to the greedy capitalists trying to save a nickle.  It is more a case of the tentacles of the nanny state.  I prefer greed because when the nanny state passes a regulation there is no place I can go to get away from their control.

Liberty dies one butter pat at a time. 

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Opus 2015-386: Election 2016: Up country and the Aristocrats

You may have heard that history repeats itself.  That is not the real situation.  What happens is that human nature keeps acting human so we face the same crisis points and pleasure points again and again.

A case in point came to me as I was reading about the life of John Marshall in an old book I picked up somewhere.  The writing is dated.  I don’t know how to take some of its statements about Marshall himself but it gives me real insights into the world he lived in.  The point I am writing about was the time when the Stamp Act had been passed by Parliament and there was a lot of anger and resentment in the American colonies.  In spite of this the House of Burgesses in Virginia was going to go along to get along.  After several reasons why this would be true we come to this paragraph,
“But a far stronger influence with them was their hatred of Henry and their fear of the growing power of the up country.  They were smarting from the defeat of the loan-office bill.  They did not relish the idea of following the audacious Henry and his democratic supporters from the hills.  They resented the leadership which the ‘new men’ were assuming.  To the aristocratic machine it was offensive to have any movement originate outside itself.” p. 62
If you are wondering why Mitch McConnell and John Boehner seem to have lost their man parts it may be because they are more worried about the upstarts in the “up country” than they are about the man trying to destroy the country from the White House.  The lust for power is part of human nature and the Republican leaders are not above putting us in our place for daring to question their leadership and demand accountability.

They count on another quality of human nature:  The sheep in the up country will forget by the time the next election rolls around.  They have a wonderful set of examples:  Bill Clinton and Barak Obama.  Both were elected a second time. 

Elections matter.  One is coming.  Vote the suckers out.  If we get rid of a few good ones it will be more than balanced by all the aristocrats that need to go looking for jobs as consultants and lobbyists.

Beveridge, Albert J.  The Life of John Marshall, Vol. 1.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916.

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Opus 2015-385: Should-a-Beens: Life Insurance, Baltimore Style

I am sure that you have seen the headlines about the Mayor of Baltimore signing off on a $6.4 million law suit against the police.  That gave me an inspiration.  If you are one of those unfortunate people who have been diagnosed with a terminal condition and have no life insurance, I have a suggestion for you.

First, make sure that it is terminal.  Get a second opinion.  Get a third opinion because my solution will not be pleasant, but it is sure to be rewarding.

Okay, when you are sure your days are numbered, move to Baltimore and start harassing the police.  Actually any major city will probably work because they all have Democrat mayors.  And with the way the police are avoiding confrontation it might be hard to get them to respond, but be creative, persistent and obnoxious.

Get them to kill you.  Then have your family sue like they did in Baltimore and, magic, you get a multi million dollar award from a Mayor who has friends getting a cut.  It may be painful but it is only temporary and remember it is for your family.  You know, those people who spent no time training you in responsible behavior or respect for law and order.  If that makes you feel bad just remember that you are a soul brother, or sister, to the politicians.  They also have no sense of responsibility and no respect for law.  The beauty of this is that the court will not allow your previous condition (thug) to be introduced as evidence.  Don’t you wish standard health insurance policies were that way?

Of course it will only work if you are black.  I can’t help you on that point but remember Rachel Dolezal.

Good luck.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-384: Back to Nature Revelations

It is the weekend so I am spending a little more time on breakfast.  This morning I am having steel cut oatmeal which I guess is sometimes called Irish oatmeal.  As I was stirring and waiting I began to ask myself, “How would the peasants of the medieval times felt about instant oatmeal?”

The back-to-nature crowd would figure this is a no-brainer.  Obviously the serfs would glory in the purity of the original product, grown without pesticides or chemicals, as they enjoyed the natural taste and consistency.  For most of the bean sprout and tofu crowd organic gardening is a hobby and if the bugs eat all their tomatoes they can always go to the local organic market at pay through the nose for more.  It didn’t work that way for medieval peasants.

What really brought it home was the effort it takes to cook steel cut oatmeal.  No, Tree Hugger, I am not talking about the stirring.  I am not too lazy to do that.  We live in such an energy cocoon that we forget that the ancient Irish had to cook their oatmeal on wood or peat fires.  The wood or peat did not arrive in their stove over electric wires.  It had to be chopped or dug by the same hands that are stirring the oatmeal.  Usually this was done at a different time.

So, how about that instant.  I think the peasants would have welcomed Instant Quaker Oats because it would have only involved bringing the water to a boil and would save twenty minutes worth of fuel.  Forget the taste.  Dull oatmeal I can handle if it saves me hours of labor chopping wood.  Of course those who are into global warming should start passing laws against anything but instant in order to save energy.

While we are at it, let’s throw a few cheap shots at the “stone ground” crowd.  I will confess that I enjoy good, solid, heavy, whole grain breads so I offer this with mixed feelings.

One of the things human paleontologists have found in skulls from primitive cultures is that the people have stubby teeth.  They have been worn down eating “stone ground” foods.  Evidently they didn’t know how to pick their rocks and fine grains of rock would get mixed in with the flour.  When they chewed it would act like sandpaper and wear their teeth away.  I don’t know if we have actually found harder rocks, always put “stone ground” in parenthesis and a wink, or are just wearing away our teeth and don’t know it.

homo unius libri

Friday, September 11, 2015

Opus 2015-383: Never Forget?

After the Jewish Holocaust people swore they would never forget.  Now you have growing numbers of pseudo-intellectuals and an entire Muslim nation claiming that there was no Holocaust.  It was just a Jewish PR stunt, so there is nothing to forget.

Millions are not even aware of the Armenian Holocaust so there is nothing to forget.

The millions killed by Stalin and Mao are simply footnotes on conservative blogs.

Cambodia, what Cambodia?

911?  Isn’t that what you dial when someone is breaking into the house?  If people can conveniently forget the slaughter of unknown millions how can we expect them to remember 3,000?

September 11, 2001 was the date that the war Islam is waging against the United States came to local TV.  For a brief period Americans woke up to the fact that there is danger in the world.  Now we are giving the bankrollers of that attack $150 Billion (with a B) to finance their next project for American neighborhoods.

Never forget?  It is more like “Never learn.”

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-382: Should-a-Beens: Cool Free Stuff

Educators have no sense of economics or how business works.  They actually think that things are free.  After all, the nice man said so.

Recently we had a group of teachers sharing all the wonderful toys they learned about at a conference put on by Google for teachers.  They were bubbling over with all the cool applications that could be implemented on the Chrome Books that our district was spending big money on.  So far it sounded good.

They began to share some of these toys with us.  Then the real world begins to butt in.  First of all, away from the intense environment and specially prepared presentations they found it very difficult to access the toys.  When they finally found them, they could not get them to work.  We were told that, in spite of that, they were the answers to all of our teaching needs.  They also failed to notice the little box over on the side that told us how to sign up for a free trial.

They came away thinking everything was simple and free.  In real life it was complicated and expensive.  They think these conferences are given because Google cares about education.  No, they are given to sell Google products and services.  There are millions of teachers across the country.  Our district has already indulged in the kool aid and is working towards having a one-to-one ratio of Chrome Books to students.  $$$.  Chrome books only work in the cloud, giving Google control of my data.  I find that I cannot print from my Chrome book without a printer that is “cloud compatible”.  $$$.  I find that I cannot access things on the Chrome book from my PC.  $$$.

So when you vote more money for education, rest assured that the major corporations are already lined up with their wallets out.  They are taking, not giving, unless it is to prime the pump.  This is not an indictment of business.  They are the reason for much of the progress we have.  They supply jobs and opportunities for millions.  I do not begrudge them their profits or success.

My problem is with teachers and school boards that think all of this is free.  It is a long way past time to grow up.

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Opus 2015-381: Book Review: Four Letter Laughs

I don’t know if George Carlin is still around and making jokes.  My first awareness came from long ago when Johnny Carson was king of The Tonight Show and I was young enough to stay up and watch it.  I always enjoyed Carlin’s humor.  It was good stuff; creative and original.

At the same time I heard that in his non-TV gigs he really had a filthy mouth.  Since I didn’t go to night clubs and we didn’t have You Tube in those days, I had to take their word for it.  Recently I picked up a book for 50 cents that he had written and for the first time I experienced the gamut of his work.  I was right:  He is a great comedian.  Sometimes.  You see, they were also right, and he has an incredibly filthy mouth.  Or typewriter.  Either way it gets old really quick.

The nature of humor is pointing out the unusual or seeing things an a startling way.  The first time you throw in a four letter word it has an impact.  It could even be funny.  However, with the degeneration of standards on TV and in our culture, the vulgarity and obscenity of the past has become the boring passe of today. 

There are places where he offers real philosophical insight such as, “If they don’t like the way you dance it could be because they can’t hear the music.”  When I went to look for the page number I could not find the line again, but I could still remember it.

Pulling the jury into the cesspool of language selection were repeated one liners like, “F*** Al Jolson.” on page 74.  You could substitute many different targets for the “Al Jolson”.  I am mystified why this is supposed to be funny.

Clean humor is hard to produce.  Filthy mouths can be found in any locker room or bar.  It was a sad discovery.  I am not sure I want to hear him again.

Carlin, George.  Brain Droppings.  New York:  Hyperion, 1997.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Opus 2015-380: On the Street: A Problem

Please.  Restaurant managers, train you people to stop saying, “No problem.”  Of course it is no problem.  I am paying you to make it no problem.  You are supposed to make the problem go away. 

The appropriate response is, “My pleasure” or “Consider it done” or “Yes, is there anything else I can do for you?”  The world is full of problems and an extra pat of butter is not one of them.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Opus 2015-379: Modern Mantras: Patience

One of the truths about cooking is that “a watched pot never boils”.  If you have ever been in a hurry you know how that works.  On the other hand, if you walk out of the kitchen it always seem to suddenly boil over. 

Blame the cooking gods.

How would this be restated in modern society.  I thought about substituting “microwave” for “pot” but that didn’t seem too catchy.  So instead I reached down into the culture of the school for a common reference point.

“A watched student never texts” or “a watched student never chews”.  I know because I have tried to catch them.  They may never get any work done but that is because they are focused on watching you to see if you are watching them.

Once I took a phone from a student and they had left it accessible.  While I was standing looking at the screen I received about eight text messages from other students in the class.  I didn’t see a thing.  If we could hire these kids as spies for the CIA we would be forever secure.  Or maybe we would never be secure.

homo unius libri

Monday, September 7, 2015

Opus 2015-378: Book Review: An Arab View of Arabs

I am slowly working my way through A History of the Arab Peoples by Albert Hourani.  Presently I am half way through the book and I plan on finishing it.  As I was checking to see if there was a Kindle edition, no such luck, I came across a review of the book by Daniel Pipes.  I almost wish I had see it before I started reading but then I might have assumed the reviewer was just an Islamophobe, whatever that is.  That doesn’t work too well since the review is from 1991, which is far before 911.  Instead I found that his observations were a good summary of what I was finding.

One of my observations was that Hourani wrote like and Arab, not an Englishman.  Since he is a professor at Oxford that should not be the case.  Pipes put it this way,
“In some ways, Mr. Hourani's work more closely resembles an Arab chronicle than a modern Western history.”
I kept finding that the nouns and verbs I was reading might be objectively correct but they were stripped of the adjectives and adverbs that would have made it a color picture instead of black and white.  Pipes puts it this way,
“A more severe problem concerns the book's overly-rosy picture. Unpleasantries such as racism, the status of women, and the Arab record in Africa are either touched on lightly or sugar-coated.”
He picks out the glossing over of slavery.  Hourani treats slavery the way a Southern plantation owner would have described slaves as happy, singing in the fields, dancing at night and not suited for more than slavery. 
“Absent is any mention of the terror of enslavement, the castration of eunuchs, the raping of slave women, the pitiless conditions on farms and mines, or the unending humiliation of the slave status”
To be fair I see the same lack of balance in his description of the Shia branch of Islam.  Hourani has a definite case of Apologist Tunnel Vision.

Pipes’ analysis comes together.
“Finally, Mr. Hourani pursues a fashionably leftist agenda, impugning capitalism and attacking Israel, but with so fine a subtlety it borders on the surreptitious. Repeated use of qualifiers ("may," "might," "perhaps," "possible") allows the author to distance himself from his own assertions.”
I plan to finish the book and continue taking notes.  I find it valuable to read a book about the Arabs from a Muslim point of view.  Since I have a sense of history I can filter out a lot of the nonsense and it gives me a better understanding of a large part of the world, its culture and its religion.  I would not recommend the book to the general reader unless you have a lot of time on your hands.

Hourani, Albert.  A History of the Arab Peoples.  Cambridge:  The Belknap Press of Harvard
    University Press, 1991.

homo unius libri

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Opus 2015-377: A Problem of Emphasis

I was listening to Alistair Begg on the way to work.  Nothing new there.  He made reference to just being a sinner saved by grace.  Nothing new there.  I decided I was tired of the emphasis.  Nothing new there.

Christians are sinners saved by grace.  You can’t argue with that because that is the truth.  We are nothing, and never can be anything, by our own strength and power.  We cannot earn our salvation.  It is a gift.  Notice:  The gift is available and it changes things.

So why do some people spend all their time focused on life before the gift.  When Begg and others of his persuasion say it they are saying, “we are SINNERS saved by grace.”  What they should be saying is “we WERE sinners.  We ARE SAVED by grace.”  Or even, “We were dirty, no good rotten sinners, but we are now SAINTS SAVED BY GRACE.” 

I once was a baby that soiled my diapers.  Once I ate mashed potatoes with my fingers.  I used to pass gas in public.  Left to myself I would still practice habits like that.  I may have stopped wearing diapers.  Hopefully the work of my parents has had some effect.  I don’t brag about how dirty my bib used to be but how clean my shirt is now.  I don’t need training wheels on my bicycle any more.  I might need a speed regulator on my car, but that is a different story.

Thank you, Mom and Dad.  Thank you, Jesus.  I could not, and would not, have done it without you.  I hope I am a credit to your names.

homo unius libri

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Opus 2015-376: On the Street: Ugly Observations

I was waiting at an intersection while some mothers herded their chicks across the street.  We have all been there but on this day I said to myself, “These women are ugly.”  To be fair they might have said the same thing about me.  Ugly women are not unusual.  But the kids were cute.

How does that happen?  What gives a child beauty.  When my son was born he was a mess.  He looked like he had run into a wall.  He was purple and covered with chalky gunk.  He was also beautiful.  That of course was just prejudice.  I understand that.

But what is it that makes a classroom full of eight graders attractive on the whole?  What is the youthful aspect that makes them attractive?  You can look at them objectively and realize they are not really good looking.  You can see they will not be attractive as adults.  But there is still something attractive about them.

Is it physical?  Most young people have not had the time to abuse their body and build up the body fat so they are leaner and not flabby.  Some are caught in that stage between the childish diminsions and their final adult form and the combination is pleasing.

It is spiritual?  Young people are still full of promise.  They have their lives ahead of them.  Sure they are making mistakes but they have plenty of time to correct the mistakes and get it together.  So maybe what we find attractive is hope. 

It is attitude?  Many are still naive and cooperative.  When they throw a monkey wrench in the works it is often just childish energy, not deliberate sabotage.  They have not been dumped on by life so they are more open and friendly.

I don’t know, but whatever it is, I wish we could bottle it, store it and return it to them when they reach middle age.  Or send it to them when they reach the point of escorting their offspring across the street.  Or maybe pour it into scowling drivers. 

homo unius libri

Friday, September 4, 2015

Opus 2015-375: Smoke, Mirrors and Hammers

Public education is broken.  I didn’t do it.  Really.  It was that way when I got here.

What started as groups of parents trying to pool their resources to help their children get ahead has become a political football to brainwash the masses so they don’t see their liberty being eroded.  We have gone from the one room schoolhouse in Little House on the Prairie to 1984.

Today if you came into my classes and got to know the students, their abilities, their self-control and their goals in life you would see that the classes were put together with the goal of keeping anyone from reaching excellence.  I have classes that are supposed to be honors or gifted.  These terms are school jargon for “impress the parents.”  In every one of these classes I have students who either have no academic skills or who have so little self control that they are nothing but a disruptive influence and keep others from learning.  In my basic classes I have students who would blossom if placed in the “honors” class but they are surrounded by students who think a good day in school is getting kicked out of at least two periods.

I think we need three, dare I say the word, “tracks” in education.  These are based on admitting why the students are here and why the government feels they need to use coercion to get them here.

    Those who want to learn
    Those who are just there for the babysitting
    Those who are disciples of anarchy

While I call these “tracks” they would be more like lanes.  A person would be allowed to switch tracks any time they have a serious desire to change their motivation.  They could, like a speeder on the freeway, be pulled over by the attitude police if they are demonstrating that they don’t really want to be in that lane or if their reckless driving is causing others to have a wreck.

Anyone who wants to learn should be welcomed at school.  That is the reason most people say we have schools.

Many are simply there because that is the place to be.  Maybe they don’t have A/C at home.  Maybe they are bored with Oprah and Jerry.  Maybe they want to be with their friends.  Fine.  They might accidently learn something and we need to be open to that.  As long as they don’t keep others from learning, welcome.

Then we have the hard cases.  They don’t want to be there or, if they do, it is to cause problems.  It is like a criminal wanting to rob a bank in a gun free zone.  It is a lot more fun.  The key is that no matter how much they claim to want an education, behavior says different.  I can talk about improving my golf game all I want but if I won’t take lessons and practice what I am shown, I am just killing grass and using oxygen.  I should be banned from the real thing and limited to miniature golf courses.

No one will listen.  They are into smoke and mirrors when a hammer is needed.  My fear is that public education is so broken that it cannot be repaired.  It needs to be replaced.

I don’t want to be a babysitter.  I don’t want to be a cop.  I want to be a teacher.

homo unius libri

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Opus 2015-374: Manilla and Manila

As I was doing some research I came across a map that gave me pause.  I don’t know how the link will come through but it shows Manilla next to New Mexico.  I quickly came to an understanding.  It said “New South Wales” in the corner. 

In case you are an eighth grader in my school let me tell you that New South Wales is in Australia.  I guess I should also point out that when spelled correctly Manila is in the Philippine Islands and New Mexico is in the United States.  For further clarification, each of those is thousands of miles from the others.

Glad to be of service.

homo unius libri

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Opus 2015-373: Inflation Signs

When will the dollar stores make the transition to two dollar stores?

You can only hold the line so long.  Eventually you will run out of things that people will buy for only a dollar.  Well maybe not, people will still vote for Hillary if she gets the nomination.  Some people will buy anything.

But in economics the day has to come.  In some ways it already has its nose under the tent.  The 99 Cent Store has become the 99.99 cent store.  There are also a number of stores around that have the word “dollar” in their name that have very few items for a dollar on their shelves.  In fact I can often beat their prices other places but keep going in looking for bargains.  Often the items offered for a buck have been reduced in size. 

Maybe we need a government subsidy for dollar stores.  If we can subsidize consumers with things like EBT cards and Title 8 housing, why not take the inventory of a Walmart and subsidize everything so it costs a dollar?  Actually I know why.  It would not take long before the shelves were cleaned off of everything except what you find unsold at dollar stores today.  Even parasites like a good meal.  They would leave everything else for those of us that work all day and can’t get to the store while there is still quality merchandise. 

Until the day the Democrats set up a Department of Dollar stores with a Dollar Czar, I will continue looking for bargains.

homo unius libri

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Opus 2015-372: On the Street: Identifying Accents

I wasn’t listening, really I wasn’t, but the guys accent caught my attention.

I wondered at first where he was from.  Now I was listening.  It soon became clear that his accent was power breakfast sandwich.  He sounded like he was from an exotic location because he was talking with his mouth stuffed.

I think I will go back to not listening.

homo unius libri

Opus 2015-371: Trickle Down Attitude

Too often we get sidetracked by labels and miss the bigger picture.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think labels are helpful.  When someone tells me they are a teetotaler, I know where they are coming from.  Political labels help at times but not on the big picture.

I am a Republican.  The enemy is not the Democrats.  Labels don’t help identify the big problem.  The enemy can be found in both parties.  They are well connected elites who are trying to manipulate our society to keep themselves in power and deny the opportunity for success to others.  These elites are totally bipartisan.  They cooperate.  Their goal is to take away our liberty because liberty is dangerous, especially to elites.

Elites are not always wealthy party bosses or corporate executives.  Most of the liberty that we lose is taken away by low level flunkies that are in a position to make us jump through hoops just for the personal sense of power.  They can be a clerk at the DMV.  I remember the last time I had to renew my driver’s license.  There was a minor issue that needed to be resolved in the paperwork.  The lady behind the counter could not care less.  She had her nails to do.  It was okay with her if I had to take another day off from work to stand in line for a few seconds of time.  I was blessed because when she was looking the other way the guy at the next window said, “Come straight to me when you come back and we will get it taken care of.”  One was an elitist, the other was a common American.

Or how about those crossing guards.  We live across from a middle school and even though there is a signal we have two crossing guards to help these children across the street.  They stand in the middle until every child is on the curb.  They hold their sign up until they have reached the curb.  You better not mess with them.  They are elitists.  They have power and you don’t.

Vote the suckers out.  Vote against anyone who is in favor of more government control or regulation.  Elections matter and even if you don’t believe in trickle down economics you should believe in trickle down attitude.

homo unius libri