Saturday, October 13, 2018


     Saturdays continue to be better than the rest of the week. Yea, even for this no-longer-working-for-wages Long Island resident. In part that’s because I no longer have to cram all my non-work errands into Saturday and Sunday. In even greater measure it’s because Beth and I will be together. But please don’t tell her that; she thinks I married her for her cooking, and I’d like to maintain the fiction a while longer. Anyway, here are a few squibs no one of which appears to require a full-length essay.

1. “To protect him from repercussion.”

     Many persons conceal their identities when they write for the Web. I understand the impulse even if I don’t agree with it, but when a Catholic priest feels that need, you know something’s rotten in Denmark:

     From the moment that the Roman Church, and to a certain extent the Byzantine Church, took on the bureaucracy of the Roman Empire as a model for its working structures, there was a foothold for the Devil. In the hands of a Gregory the Great it was safe, but when popes, cardinals, and bishops became worldly and ambitious then there was more than a whiff of danger, there were darkness and a terrible thing. What was this terrible thing? It was nothing more and nothing less than the re-crucifying of Christ, not by out and out sinners such as gangsters, murderers, and heartless dictators, but by Popes, bishops, and cardinals, and by far, far too many priests infatuated with ambition, wealth, power, and sensuality.

     We must reflect profoundly on the fact that the great St. John Chrysostom and the utterly gentle Robert Bellarmine thought that most bishops go to Hell. We priests are in no better state, as witnessed by that other great saint, Alphonsus Liguori, who said that most priests go to Hell. Today the great temptation among Catholics, and the mainstream Protestant churches, is the First Temptation of Christ; namely, to turn stones into bread. As long as we are involved solely in the social Gospel, then that is all that is needed. This Utopian style Christianity best incarnated in Liberation Theology is exactly what Christ speaks against, when Satan tempts Him to assuage his hunger by turning stones into bread. We must in our materialistic age reflect on Christ’s response to Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4: 4). When we become engrossed on feeding and clothing the World’s population and getting everyone jobs, noble as this effort is, it is not enough. There is only one thing that is enough, and that is that we give ourselves totally and utterly to God, holding nothing back. However, because we are human most of us fail miserably, and before long there are programmes put into place that are anything but Christian.

     God does not ask us to be successful, he asks us to be faithful.

     The article is somewhat discursive, yet it pierces like Christ’s crown of thorns. Please, Christians of every denomination, read it all.

2. While we’re on subjects of interest to Christians...

     The Left hates nothing more than Christianity. Christianity gives the lie to every last one of the Left’s claims and representations. When we are baptized, part of what we swear to renounce are “all of Satan’s empty promises.” Smart Christians will note the similarity between those promises and those of the political Left.

     Therefore, it comes as no surprise that a Christian doing Christian work should elicit the Left’s fury:

     Kathy Griffin is triggered once again by a good man feeding the homeless. It is something Justice Brett Kavanaugh has done for years. Griffin on the other hand is a mindless, potty-mouthed, unfunny mean girl.

     TMZ speaks the truth about him feeding the homeless and she goes off the rails. She called him one of “Trump’s monsters.”

     Why do the media continue to pay attention to this bitter, graceless woman? Oh, excuse me: because they’re the media. I forgot for a moment. Never mind!

3. November 6 is looking pretty damned good.

     Here’s Mike Hendrix’s take on it:

     As I always say, there’s only one poll that matters; it happens on election day. But after the Kavanaugh debacle; the endless parade of sad, demented twerps intent on chopping their dicks off and a whole menagerie of other hostile freaks; the off-putting, man-hating bull daggers sneering and cursing at normals; the sniffing, supercilious disdain for the people who keep this country running; spoiled-brat footballers pissing over the flag and the anthem; the violent assaults by AntiFa, the Democrat-Socialists new paramilitary wing in place of the KKK—well, it seems obvious enough to me that the momentum is NOT running their way. Then you throw things like this into the mix:
     Obama in June 2016 told his fans, “When somebody says like the person you just mentioned who I’m not going to advertise for, that he’s going to bring all these jobs back. Well how exactly are you going to do that? What are you going to do? There’s no answer to it.”
     President Trump just answered.
     “Job gains for the manufacturing industry in the last 12 months are the most since 1995,” CNBC reported.
     What did you expect?
     Donald Trump is a capitalist who knows business. He gets things done.
     Obama is a community organizer. He hangs curtains.

     Yeah, I believe I’ll stick with my prediction: a shellacking of HISTORIC proportions this November, and an even worse one in 2020. That’s assuming there’s anyone left willing to run under the ragged, sagging Democrat-Socialist standard by then.

     But don’t neglect to vote. “If it’s not close, they can’t cheat.” – Hugh Hewitt.

4. They’re learning!

     President Trump and Justice Kavanaugh have taught their co-partisans to fight:

     Yesterday, the Senate confirmed twelve federal district judges and three circuit court judges (2d, 3d, and 9th Circuits) in very short order. The announcements read like a religious litany....

     According to Politico, the votes were agreed to because vulnerable Democrats wanted to head home to campaign...

     And who contrived this unpleasant choice for the Democrats? Mitch McConnell. That’s right: old Go-Along-To-Get-Along Mitch. If he can hear the drums, I’d imagine that anyone could.

5. What is “a story?”

     I’ve been ranting about this for more than twenty years:

     What is a story?

     A story is change. Always. It is about change in the protagonist. Always. It is the point where the protagonist's life is always and forever to never be the same. It's the point in Raiders where Indy says, "That all depends on how cooperative we're all willing to be. All I want is the girl." Indy starts out looking for the Ark of the Covenant—the entire movie is his quest for the Ark—but in the end, he threatens to blow up the Ark—all he wants is the girl. Indy has changed.

     Your high school English teacher most likely called this the "climax." That's close, but not quite accurate. Climax implies a rise in the action, and it's fine for pornography. The events change. Things change.

     I tell my writing classes that there are secret languages. They have been around since "Shibboleth," and they are used to tell one class of people from another. Musicians still use them. Bass players—at least the good ones I worked with—never call their instrument a guitar. It's always their axe. A drummer never says "drum set." It's always their kit. If I'm playing in a club and someone tells me I have a nice drum set, I thank them. If they say I have a nice kit, I know I'm talking to another player. The conversation changes because I'm talking to one of my own.

     Writers do it, too. If someone talks about the story's climax, I know they are a reader. There's nothing wrong with that. I love readers. If it wasn't for readers, I would have to find a real job. Readers are my heroes. But I know from that one word, who I'm talking to.

     In shorter words, John Brunner’s Two Laws of Fiction:

  1. The raw material of fiction is people.
  2. The essence of story is change.

     Mix well for best results.

6. “Oh my God, he’s succeeding!

     I’ve never had much regard for Andrew Sullivan, but now and then he manages to connect:

     [T]here was evidence that some of the culture war issues the Democrats are relying on may not be so win-win. Yes, a focus on sexual assault and harassment in the workplace and elsewhere is important in its own right — and it strongly resonates with suburban women who may decide the midterms. But it can also energize conservative and moderate women in defense of what they see as threats to their own husbands and sons; it can further alienate more traditional working-class men from the Democrats; and it could cement a worrying shift among young white men toward the GOP since 2016.

     To which Glenn Reynolds deposeth and sayeth:

     Yeah, weird how when you constantly attack and denigrate a group of people, they start voting for the other side.

     Yeah, a real head-scratcher, there.

7. I’d advise taking them at their word.

     They’ve tried it before, remember? Why not take a second swing at it?

     Liberals are so accustomed to getting their way that they cannot control themselves. They fear an era is coming to an end, and they want to prevent this. So before the newly reinforced, John Roberts-led court has heard a case or issued a single ruling, they are already doing everything in their power to delegitimize the institution they once looked upon as almost God....

     The Democrats who caused and put on the entire Kavanaugh farce are already promising to abuse their power further, if the voters will only give more of it to them. They are promising a scurrilous impeachment of Kavanaugh, and also to pack the Supreme Court if given the chance. Why? Because they are angry, and they don’t respect the rules and norms of government, and they are not mature or clever enough to wait to reveal this until they have power.

     I can’t think of a better reason to turn every elected Democrat out of federal office. Surely the urgency is plain, especially as regards the Senate.

     “When a man tells you who he is...believe him.” – Maya Angelou

     The same goes for a political party.

8. WANT!

     The C.S.O. couldn’t resist showing me this article:

     Diehard Auburn football fans Rick and Susan Turner hold season tickets on the 35-yard line at the university’s Jordan-Hare Stadium. But when the Tigers are on the field, the Turners are in the parking lot.

     Every home game, the Birmingham, Ala., couple tailgates from their 45-foot 2016 Tiffin Zephyr, a luxury motorhome. The Zephyr offers an entertainment center and a full kitchen with solid-surface countertops and stainless-steel sink, as well as a range, microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator. And unlike the stadium, there’s no line to use the Zephyr’s bathroom. Most important, electrical hookups and an automatic generator ensure that the motorhome is fully air-conditioned.

     “It’s hot in Alabama in September,” says Mr. Turner, 64, senior vice president of Greenbrier Rail Services, a company that makes freight railcars and equipment....

     Recent retirees Doug and Dani Stiebeling found their happy place in Petoskey, Mich. The couple’s full time home is in Orlando, Fla., but they wanted a summertime destination to escape the Florida heat. In June they paid $250,000 for a 42-foot 2014 Itasca Ellipse, and drove it to Hearthside Grove, a luxury motorhome resort in Petoskey exclusively for Class A models. Their wooded lot, purchased in “the $250,000 range” measures one-fifth of an acre and includes a paved driveway with electrical, water and sewer hookups. Like many of the lots at Hearthside, the Stiebelings also have a 200-square-foot bungalow on their property where guests can stay when they visit.

     The Stiebelings, along with their dog Pumpkin and cat Sammi, make Hearthside Grove their home base for much of the season, which runs from mid-May to mid-October. They hitch a car to the back of their motorhome to use for trips to the grocery store and other errands.

     “There is so much to do in northern Michigan,” says Mr. Stiebeling, 65, who retired in April after a 35-year career selling medical devices and artificial skin to burn centers. “The water is so clean, and there’s trout fishing, golfing, restaurants galore—and not the typical chain restaurants. They’re ma-and-pa places.”...

     Spending time with his wife, Linda, was one of the main reasons Nicholas Grimaldi purchased his 45-foot 2017 Entegra Anthem.

     The Grimaldis live in Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., and are retired from the family’s canvas and upholstery business. Mr. Grimaldi, 64, also works for an insurance company in claims, and he had Wi-Fi installed in his RV so he could work while on the road.

     But the real driver behind the decision to buy is Linda Grimaldi’s bucket list of destinations—the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and Minnesota to see the aurora borealis. “Because of my wife’s medical condition, she can’t fly. She has a hard time breathing,” he said. In the RV with portable oxygen, “we can go out and not skip a beat.”

     Yet Beth wonders why I keep asking her when she’s likely to retire.

     That’s all for today and tomorrow, Gentle Reader. Allow me the luxury of a non-digital weekend. I need to think hard about the next novel, and there hasn’t been much time for that lately. Until Monday, be well.

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