a little slide of hand…


(27 Feb 1926, Sat The Richmond Item (Richmond, Indiana) Newspapers.com)

I caught a rather interesting story yesterday offered on Newspapers.com regarding
the great escape artist, Harry Houdini.

I thought I might offer the story here as it makes for a nice
diversion from our current headlines.
It offers a snippet of interesting history while touching
on the political climate of Houdini’s time.

For a little bit of background on Houdini, for those unfamiliar with
this early 20th century entertainer, I did a little digging.

According to Wikipedia, Houdini, whose birth name was Erik Weisz
and whose father was a Rabbi, was born in Hungry in 1874.
The family immigrated to the US in 1878, calling Wisconsin home before
eventually moving to New York.

As a young boy, Erich (the family adopted the German spelling upon
immigrating to the US) developed a love running cross country
as well as becoming a trapeze artist.

Young Erich would go on to become a professional magician,
changing his name to Harry Houdini after the French magician
Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdinthe.

Houdini would eventually become America’s favorite escape artist,
illusionist, stunt performer and mysteriarch.
He was a Vaudeville favorite and eventually performed globally.

Contrary to popular belief, Houdini did not die from a stunt gone awry,
but rather from peritonitis from a ruptured appendix at the age of 52.

It is speculated that the ruptured appendix may have originated from
a man who had come to Houdini’s dressing room prior to a performance and
repeatedly hit Houdini in the abdomen.

Houdini often boasted that he had an extreme tolerance to being hit
in the abdomen.
This curious man took Houdini at his word by repeatedly hitting him.
Houdini abruptly had the man stop, explaining that he had not
braced himself appropriately for the blows.

Within a few days of the hitting incident and having suffered severe pain
since the man’s punches, Houdini began running a fever.
He was taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with a
ruptured appendix.

To add to the mystique of Houdini,
he was known to be a practicing Freemason.

Fast foward to the roaring ’20’s.

America, as well as much of Europe, had become fascinated with
all things of the supernatural.
Mystics, fortune tellers, snake oil doctors, Mediums and seances had become all
the rage.

Intriguing entertainment and fun parlor tricks yet there was
something much more alarming and even deeper than mere entertainment.

Many people longed to reconnect with those loved one who had “passed
over to the other side.”
Those who had lost loved ones who were sorely pressed to hear from
those lost loved ones—longing to hear from them just one more time
would cling to every word offered by a “Medium”—a person who
could connect to the nonliving.

Houdini, who prided himself on his professionalism, was hard pressed
to expose those who were profiting off the emotions of the bereft—
as well as those who were casting a doubtful light on Houdini’s craft.

Houdini boldly brought this issue before Congress as he wanted to have
a federal law created against those working under the guise as mediums
while profiting falsely from the emotions of those who were hurting…

As part of Houdini’s crusade against fraudulent mediums,
two congressmen (Senator Royal S. Copeland and Representative Sol Bloom)
sponsored an amendment to a Washington DC law that would essentially
ban fortune telling in DC.
The proposal was met with stiff resistance from the spiritualist community,
who charged that it would infringe on their right to religious freedom.

Houdini had hired a small army of ‘detectives’ working to uncover the
imposters and hucksters.
One of his most ardent ‘detectives’ was a 34 year old named Rose Mackenberg.

And so during the congressional hearing “the biggest bombshell of
the hearing—at least as far as the news media was concerned—
was dropped by Mackenberg herself.

Prior to the May hearings,
Houdini had sent his undercover investigators, including Mackenberg,
to visit suspected phony mediums in DC and gather evidence against them.
During her testimony, Mackenberg alleged that two spiritualists
had independently divulged that a number of their clients
were U.S. senators, and she even went so far as to reveal the names of
four of those senators while on the stand.

But most shocking of all, Mackenberg testified that one of the mediums,
Jane Coates, had boasted that seances had been held in the White House,
with President Coolidge and his family present.”

So it seems that maybe we should have exorcized the White House years ago
and maybe we wouldn’t be having the problems we’re having today…
but of course I digress…

Here is a link to the story…it makes for some interesting reading…
enjoy the diversion…

https://blog.newspapers.com/astonishing-adventures-of-houdinis-favorite-detective/

Not too long ago nor too far away

“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too.
Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action:
you liberate a city by destroying it.
Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will
solemnly vote against their own interests.”

Gore Vidal

“Political correctness is going to kill American liberalism if it
is not fought to the death by people like me for the dangers
it represents to free speech, to the exchange of ideas,
to openheartedness, or to the spirit of art itself.
Political correctness has a stranglehold on academia,
on feminism, and on the media.
It is a form of both madness and maggotry.”

Pat Conroy, My Reading Life

Not too long ago nor too far away…there was once a high school teacher.

Now for the purpose of this story, we should note that this teacher was
actually older…that being toward the end of her career verses
being at the beginning…for she was but a mere babe when she began
teaching…this story takes place long past that baby beginning.

So let’s put this teacher, say, at about the age of 50.

She had taught at the same school going on for nearly three decades,
which made her a bit of an institution within an institution.

Still viable and loved but just older and wiser.

During her years spent at this school, this teacher had watched as pay phones
and office phones gave way to cell phones. Radios become iPods, and paper
books become ebooks. Chalk boards became smart boards.
She was there for the first computers and eventually retired as each student
had a digital notebook.

This teacher had pretty much seen it all.

One day, this teacher’s school, a school which prided itself on always being
above the curve, as in always being cutting edge,
began to implement what they proclaimed as a paradigm shift—
a new and improved way of thinking.

Let’s note that this started a good 10 years prior to end of
our story…starting when this teacher was, say, in her 40s.

As time passed, change began to accelerate exponentially.

A 6 class period day transitioned to a 4 x 4 block schedule.

Teachers were made to participate in focus groups during their
planning periods, as well as on workdays.
They were given books to read.
Think book club a la pedagogy.

Speakers were brought in to offer new ways of looking at education.

Oddly it all became a bit more precise as well as peculiar.

White teachers were suddenly being told that they were no longer relating
well to their black students.
This was a reason as to why there was growing resentment from the black students
toward the white teachers.

The resentment had not been readily realized…not until the teachers were told
it was happening. We don’t even know if the kids were privy to said resentment.

White teachers were told they must begin to discipline their black students
differently.
They were told that they must try multiple means of confronting discipline
issues before ever writing a student up for an offense.
Sometimes those students who were written up for an offense were simply
sent back to class with no real cause and effect.
Much to the frustration of the teacher.
The teacher then looked rather unsupported by her superiors.

Teachers were told to be mindful of what they said and how they said it.

Students began to feel empowered over their teachers.
And thus lies much of the problem.

Respect suddenly went out the window.

Most of this new thinking was coming from Black colleagues and
administrators yet embraced by many white administrators.

White female teachers were told by black administrators that young black
male students had little to no respect for them and therefore the
white female teachers needed to work extra hard at getting through to
these young boys.

One day a speaker was brought in on one particular workday for a bit of role playing.
He had all the teachers line up along a straight line.
He would ask a question, and depending on each individual teacher’s response
to the question, they were to either step forward or backward.

Did your grandparents go to college? 2 steps forward if so; two steps back if not.
Were you raised in a two parent household? 2 steps forward if so; two steps back if not.
Did your mother work outside of the home? 2 steps backwards if so; 2 steps forward if not.
Did you have your own car in high school? 2 steps forward if so; 2 steps back if not.
Did you have to work you way through school? 2 steps back if yes, 2 steps forward in no.
Did you attend summer camp? 2 steps forward if yes, 2 steps back if not.

On and on went the questions.
And so I think you’re probably figuring out where all of this was going.
By the end of the questioning, the original straight line was now vastly staggered —
those out front were not considered so much winners as much as they were
considered “privileged”—or is that labeled as privileged?

Hummm…privileged…now where have we heard about being privileged?

As time passed and toward the end of this teacher’s career,
there was a weekend workshop that everyone was encouraged to attend.
It was a conference on racial thinking within our schools.

Now remember, this story is not a current story but rather a story that took
place almost ten years back…long before CRT right?

Well…maybe not exactly.

This older teacher had a younger colleague who was also a dear friend.
The older teacher was white, married and a mom.
The younger teacher was black, not married and overweight.
Yet both of these ladies were friends both in and out of school.
Thick as thieves.

They worked well together and often created or spearheaded new initiatives
within the school.
Initiatives with a Christian focus as each woman was a committed Christian.

The younger teacher had actually gone to this same school when she was in high school
as she had grown up in this same community. Her parents were well known and
well respected professionals in this community.

The younger teacher was very smart and opted to go back to school in search
of her doctorate.
She chose Woman’s Studies—of course she did.

She had an Asian woman chair who was her doctoral mentor.
This particular academic was a self proclaimed feminist…
she noted that her “partner” who was a man, was her lesser.

The older teacher began to notice a significant change in her younger friend.
There was an anger that came bubbling to the surface.
She constantly fussed and cussed the good ol white boy system
of administration in the school system.

She fussed and cussed and greatly disparaged a friend and colleague’s
husband who was a police officer—a white police officer who she feared
might pull over her young black nephew.

Why fret in this small town community unless one was fed the notion of fear
by others…

Now back to the workshop on racial thought.

This younger teacher attended this particular conference,
the older teacher did not.

At the end of the weekend the older teacher called her younger friend, asking
how the conference went.
The younger teacher began a small tirade.
She fussed that several administrators did not attend.
She fussed that a young white male teacher stood up taking
umbrage with the presenter– all the while she maligned said young
white male teacher and yes, colleague.

She disparaged the administrators who actually did attend, sitting stone faced
with arms folded or so she raged.

Come Monday this younger teacher came by the older teacher’s classroom and
simply blew up–
she blew up and turned on her older white friend…for no real reason…
but turned as the older teacher simply was sitting there and was deemed
to be representative of all that was wrong with life and education.

The older teacher was blindsided and distraught when her young friend
stormed off.

What had she done??

Nothing.

Nothing but to represent some sort of imagined injustice.

The older teacher was crushed.
Hurt by someone she felt she no longer knew.

The young teacher remained defiant.

The older teacher retired a year later.

So now back to this blog post…

About a week ago I read a marvelous post by our friend Mel Wild regarding
Critical Race Theory—the new hot button topic in our educational system.
Here is a link to his post:

https://melwild.wordpress.com/2021/07/01/pulling-back-the-curtain-on-critical-race-theory/

I realized after reading Mel’s post that I had actually witnessed CRT creeping into
our schools years ago.

I commented on his post and Mel responded:

Yeah, it’s been the proverbial frog slowly being cooked in the kettle since the 1970s from the radical left. They were very shrewd, slowing taking over all our cultural instititions over the last five decades, especially in indoctrinating our children.

The idea of “white privilege” actually came from guilty white academics!
The term was popularized by Peggy McIntosh,
feminist activist and women’s studies scholar
who wrote a paper called “White Privilege and Male Privilege:
A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences
Through Work in Women’s Studies” in 1988.

Now, these social sciences radicals are trying say that math is racist!
“2 + 2 = 4” is part of white supremacy, etc..
This is not only stupidly insane but dangerous.
Not to mention, it actually disempowers people of color and makes
them the left’s slaves because they will not longer be able to
function on their own in the marketplace.
This is NOT compassionate.
It’s evil.
Not only that, we will cease to function as a society
if we fully embrace this nonsense.
If we survive at all, our society will become feudal,
where the intellectuals and globalist plutocrats rule over
miseducated peasant masses.
But, apparently,
that’s what some of them want.
The rest are the indoctrinated sheeple.

Next, Citizen Tom has also offered a similar post:

https://familyallianceonline.org/2021/07/08/crt-challenge-racist-teaching/

If, as a parent, you think CRT is a liberating sort of mindset that your child
needs to be exposed to, you are sadly mistaken.
CRT is a form of deep divide and Marxism at its best.

It will drive a dangerous wedge between our students and teachers.

All the while, how we teach children will never be the same.
Go back and read your history lessons…our global history.
Go back to Germany following WWI and read the impetus for
the likes of an Adolph Hitler…read of a Valdimr Lenin, a Karl Marx,
a Leon Trotsky, a Joseph Stalin, a Fredrich Engles, a Mao Zedong…
read about what happened on the opposite end…what happened with McCarthyism…read about J Edgar Hoover and paranoia…
read what happens when certain people learn how to manipulate others.
Then read about folks like George Soros, Bill Gates and those who
think they are the wise ones while you and I are considered the goats
who simply need a herder…

And then pray my friend—pray very hard!

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant,
abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal,
not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
Avoid such people.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

conspiracy, good practice or a dark path slippery slope


(Sutjeska, Tjentište, Bosnia and Herzegovina via the web)

So I did it again, I watched a bit of the news.

I caught the tail end of a story about the Biden Administration’s
desire to head out, hitting the asphalt, in order to go door to door
checking to see who has and who hasn’t gotten their COVID vaccine.

Hummmm…

Let it be known, I didn’t grow up like my parents did who spent their youthful
summers, back in the 30’s and 40’s living under a veil of fear…
fear not so much from a raging world war across an ocean but rather fear
of disease…
as in polio and tuberculosis.

Both diseases—viral and bacterial were running rampant when my parents
were young.
People were told to avoid crowds—
Summer’s, in the South back in those days, were pre air conditioning days—
Since it was hot, sticky and steamy,
everyone wanted to duck into a theater to watch a movie or head
to one of the many community pools.
Places where all types of humanity collided together.

Both places where folks were told to avoid yet beckoned for one and all.

But I can tell you, both my parents threw caution to the wind.
Dad loved his Buck Rodgers and Mother loved to swim.
Even in the big city, kids could pretty much come and go with
nary a thought as to safety.
Kids ran free—walking or riding a bike to wherever they wanted to go.

Yet the fear of contracting polio or TB was real…
especially after a 39 year old husband and father in New York
went to bed one evening with a slight fever and then
woke up in the morning and was unable to move his legs.

That 39 year old husband and father was Franklin Roosevelt.
He had somehow contracted polio.
And the rest is history.

And might we note that my grandfather, who I never met, died in 1940 from
Tuberculosis.

So I understand the reality of worry and fear regarding “catching”
a debilitating “bug.”

And so as vaccines were formulated, eventually we all began to be
‘vaccinated’.

And so as a child, I can remember receiving my polio sugar cube…a real sugar
cube doused with the vaccine.
At my elementary school, we lined up in our various grades,
wending our way to the Nurses clinic to receive our dosed sugar cube.

And blessedly with time and diligence, polio was eventually eradicated.

And so I am perplexed as to how I feel about the Biden Administration
wanting to go door to door to “check on” whether a vaccine has been
embraced or not…

I really don’t like the idea of our Government knocking on doors
checking on folks medical privacy—hence why we have HIPA—a health
privacy protection component that keeps our medical info just that…
our own.

But now…that is not so much the case.

So how do I feel about Big Government knocking on our doors
inquiring as to wether we have been vaccinated or not…and if that
answer is not, what will they then do or say????
I don’t know…but I think I’m feeling very uneasy.

I read a blog post yesterday that piqued my interest.

It was actually a re-blog from another person…
a person who thought the idea of the Big G, as in Big Government, knocking
on our doors and demanding to know whether we’d been vaccinated or not
was a reason that average citizens should be concerned.

This notion of ‘knowing’ reminds me of census takers….
those folks who are hired by the Big G government to inquire as to our income,
household numbers, etc…

How old are you?
Who is the head of your household?
What is the highest level of education reached within your household?
Can you read?
Can you write?
What is your gender?
What is your income?
Do you rent or own your home?
Etc.

Now the question is going to be, ‘are you vaccinated?’
And if your answer is no…what will that look like?

Here is a link to a copy of that post:

https://leohohmann.com/2021/07/07/what-should-you-do-when-federal-agents-arrive-at-your-door-with-questions-about-your-personal-health-decisions/

And here is an excerpt along with a look at a very interesting book–
a book I immediately ordered once I saw it:

What should you do when federal agents arrive at your
door with questions about your personal health decisions?

Below is an excerpt from a review of Black’s book by the
Alliance for Human Research Protection.

“A question that had eluded historians for decades was how
did the Nazis obtain lists of Jews – not only in Germany but
throughout Europe—whom they rapidly rounded up for deportation
and ultimately for extermination?
Black pursued this question until he found the answer:
IBM and its German subsidiary which custom-designed,
named after Herman Hollerith, who founded IBM in 1896 as
a census tabulating company.

“But when IBM Germany formed its philosophical and technologic
alliance with Nazi Germany, census and registration took on a new mission.
IBM Germany invented the racial census—listing not just religious affiliation,
but bloodline going back generations. This was the Nazi data lust.
Not just to count the Jews—but to identify them.

“People and asset registration was only one of the many uses
Nazi Germany found for high-speed data sorters.
Food allocation was organized around databases,
allowing Germany to starve the Jews. Slave labor was identified,
tracked, and managed largely through [IBM] punch cards.”

Interestingly, the IBM of today is also involved in the creation
of digital health passports, partnering with vaccine-maker
Moderna in New York’s Excelsior Pass, which is being required
for anyone attending sporting events or other large-venue events
in New York.

Microsoft is likewise partnering with the city of Los Angeles
schools and Anthem Health to implement the Daily Pass QR Health Portal
that will track every student in that district under the premise of
“protecting” people from COVID.

“The voluntary ‘health passes’ now being rolled out are just
the tip of the iceberg. Before long, they will become mandatory,
at which point unvaccinated individuals will be effectively excluded
from society,” writes Dr. Joseph Mercola in his article IBM Partners
with Moderna for COVID Reset.

As I was reading this post, I was intrigued by this book
regarding IBM and Nazi Germany.
How DID the Germans know the names and locations of all the Jews??

I always wondered how they knew such without the type of technology we
possess today.

And of all organizations…it was IBM who gave up those names
and information.
It was a business that was first charged with, of all things,
census information.

The Nazis knew because IBM had documented households…
their ethnicity, their income, their religion, their family members…

So how do I feel about the Big G government coming to my door inquiring as
to whether or not we’ve been vaccinated….?
I don’t know.
I’be been vaccinated but do I want Big G to be privy to such???
Again, I don’t know.
What will the repercussion be if a household opts not to answer…
what if they actually refuse to answer yay or nay?

What of personal choice?

A dangerously slippery slope…

But Peter and the apostles answered,
“We must obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:29

sailing with a ship of fools

Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made,
for somewhere deep in their oaken hearts the soul of a song is laid.”

Robert N. Rose

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars,
or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven
to the human spirit.”

Helen Keller


(Hieronymus Bosch / Ship of Fools/ 1490-1500/ Louvre, Paris)

The art of Hieronymus Bosch coupled with the notion of sailing…

Ahhhh…

Does it get any better????

As a long time art teacher, who loves the symbology of the Dutch northern Renaissance
artist Hieronymus Bosch, topped off with notion of sailing…sailing along a
warm air current, I was actually transported back to a better time by the misery
of our current events.

Huh??

Stay with me.

When I was in college, I spent my summers as a camp counselor up in Black Mt,
North Carolina…at a Christian girls summer camp.

And may it be noted that I have an equal love of both mountain and ocean…
for God planted the seed in my soul for a love of His handiwork.

I was a city girl who was growing up in a massively dysfunctional family…
and so just being able to get away, getting lost high in the Appalachian mountains,
provided me with the reassuring knowledge that there was something, or more like
Someone, who was so much greater than my current state of misery.

It was the summer of 1980 and I took off from Atlanta in my little blue pinto
with its solid glass back hatch and blue plaid seats, pinto jeep as I affectionately
called her, heading north on a 5 hour journey, high up into the mountains.

I had a tape cassette player in my car and I always popped in Chris Cross’s tape.
At some obscure mile marker as I exited off of I-85, I popped in the tape
once I saw the first looming blue grey mound topping the horizon.

I’d play the song Sailing over and over again.
Hitting repeat constantly.
Over and over, mile after mile.

Windows cranked down as my arm was outstretched acting like a small wing–
all the while as I cruised upwards on what seemed like an endlessly
inviting string of winding roads.

Alone, with some sense of independence, I was contently winging my way to
a place where I felt at home.
Sailing along on the current of a warm summer wind, I was lovingly nestled
within the undulating spine of an ancient mountain chain.

Flash back to my northern Renaissance art history class.
It was where I met Hieronymus Bosch.

A surreal painter long before surrealism was a thing.

Mystical and full of Christian symbolism…his paintings rang of
the satirical yet candid truth of what our ancient faith was all about.

God doesn’t play.
His word is His word…whether we like it or not.

Fast forward…..

I did a stupid thing today–I watched the news.

Hackers hit again.
Holding US companies hostage.
Putin knowingly and smugly smiles.
Biden trips over his thoughts and words.

Chicago continues killing itself…skyrocketing black on black murders…
Innocent children being shot and killed…
while a black mayor blames a white population.

A White House Press Secretary is asked about the current troubles
plaguing the land and right on cue, she defers responsibility, blaming the
previous administration.

The latest version of the Mod Squad defames the flag, their
constituents, their responsibility, their nation.

Hate spews from their mouths.

A black anthem verses THE anthem.
Segregation is oddly, once again, the name of the game.
A statue of Liberty is labeled obsolete.
Oddly it is now black who wants the separation from white while
a new generation is brainwashed over the notion of white privilege.

All the while we sail away on a ship filled with fools….


(A reconstruction of the left and right wings of the triptych: at upper left
The Ship of Fools; at lower left: Allegory of Gluttony and Lust.
Panel at right is Death and the Miser. At bottom “The Wayfarer”
which would have been on the outside of the triptych.)

The painting Ship of Fools is a painting by Hieronymus Bosch,
now on display in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
The surviving painting is a fragment of a triptych that was cut into several parts.
The Ship of Fools was painted on one of the wings of the altarpiece,
and is about two thirds of its original length.
The bottom third of the panel belongs to Yale University Art Gallery
and is exhibited under the title Allegory of Gluttony.
The wing on the other side, which has more or less retained its full length,
is the Death and the Miser, now in the National Gallery of Art,
Washington, D.C.
The two panels together would have represented the two extremes
of prodigality and miserliness, condemning and caricaturing both.
The Wayfarer was painted on the right panel rear of the triptych.
The central panel, if existed, is unknown.

wikipedia

Well, it’s not far down to paradise, at least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.
Believe me.
It’s not far to never-never land, no reason to pretend
And if the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.
Believe me.
Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free
Fantasy, it gets the best of me
When I’m sailing
All caught up in the reverie, every word is a symphony
Won’t you believe me?
Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free
Well it’s not far back to sanity, at least it’s not for me
And if the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity
Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.
Believe me.
Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be
Just a dream and the wind to carry me
And soon I will be free

(songwriter Carter Burwell / performed by Chris Cross)

Fall from Grace…(a re-post, sort of)

So I’ve obviously decided to stroll a bit down memory lane recently,
doing so again today by pulling some thoughts from past posts—
this one comes from Veteran’s Day 2017—and yet it remains very relevant
for today as we ready to celebrate our Nation’s birthday…

“Freedom has been elevated to a total eclipse of a person’s obligations,
to a freedom from any obligation.

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

“After the Western ideal of unlimited freedom….
here is the true Christian definition of freedom.
Freedom is self-restriction!
Restriction of the self for the sake of others!”

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn


(Washington with troops at Valley Forge / Adam Asar)

In his book A Pope and A President, Paul Kengor recalls the admonishment of a young senator from Massachusetts to a college audience….

“In 1955…Senator Kennedy told Assumption College that the Communists had a ‘fear’
of Christianity and allowed ‘no room for God.’

In a passage that could have been spoken by President Ronald Reagan
thirty years later, Kennedy said that Communists sought
‘to make the worship of the State the ultimate objective of life’
and could not ‘permit a higher loyalty, a faith in God,
a belief in a religion that elevates the individual, acknowledges his
true value, and teaches him devotion and responsibility to something
beyond the here and now.

As president, Kennedy candidly warned America of its “atheistic foe,” the
fanaticism and fury” of communions, and the “communist conspiracy” that
“represents a final enslavement.”
“The enemy is the communist system itself—implacable, insatiable, unceasing
in its drive for world domination,” Declared Kennedy.
“This [is] a struggle for supremacy between two conflicting ideologies”
freedom under God versus ruthless, goddess tyranny.”

“Years later President Reagan went to the home of Senator Ted Kennedy…
where he spoke at an endowment fundraiser for the John F. Kennedy Presidential
Library. On hand were Jackie and her two grown children.
Reagan commended JFK for his shrewdness in recognizing the enemy:
“He understood the tension between good and evil in the history of man;
understood, indeed,
that much of the history of man can be seen in the constant working out
of that tension.”

Reagan noted that Kennedy knew that the United States had adversaries,
real adversaries,and they weren’t about to be put off by soft reason and
good intentions.
He tried always to be strong with them and shrewd.”

And so it’s hard for me, in this very surreal 21st century of ours,
to imagine that there were once two presidents serving roughly 20 years apart—
men from two very different parties, two very different men, who each understood
what exactly was this nation’s collective enemy.

These two very different men who, despite being decades apart in their service to
their nation as well as being nearly 30 years apart in age…men who were each of
different ideologies, could actually collectively agree at that juncture in time
on a single threat.
Something that we see today which has become more satirical farce
rather than serious consideration.

And not only did these two very different presidents understand who the
collective enemy was…they also deeply understood the connection between a nation
who rested under God’s dominion verses a nation resting under the dominion of man.

Imagine today the party of Kennedy speaking about an “atheistic foe”…
Or referring to an adversarial nation as having “no room for God”
as well as those who have a fear of a Christian nation—
Imagine that a leader of the party of Kennedy would actually claim the United States
to be a “God fearing, Christian nation”
That there would be those who would speak of godlessness when referring to
oppressive regimes.

Imagine the party of Reagan, in turn, speaking words of agreement…

Oh how far we have fallen from who we once were.

When did it happen?

When did we think it necessary to scorn and scoff the notion of being
collectively under the yoke of an Omnipotent Creator?
When did we decide that we were free of any obligations other than to our own
selfish individual whims and agendas?

When did we decide there was no real good nor evil…
rather just the altar of individual humanism?

And what is the irony that the words of a one time Soviet dissident
would remind us, those of us who have lived in and with “freedom” most of our
lives, that our’s is a precious gift…one that we have been entrusted with
to cherish and maintain…as blood has been spilled and lives have been lost
all in the name of this very “freedom.”

It has mattered not whether we were black nor white,
male or female, freeman or enslaved individual…we toiled
through wars with others as well as wars with ourselves
so that ultimately ALL men and women living under our one flag
could and would be free.

And so I look around and wonder now—why is there such divisiveness?
Why is there such strife?
We have all fought too hard and too long to believe the lies
of those whose desire it is to destroy our way of life.

And I say that as I speak of those within our own Nation.

It would behoove us as individuals as well as a Nation to
recall, as well as honor, the selfless sacrifices made by those
men and women who, since those early days when we were but a collection
of bedraggled colonies…
a people, who down through the decades, understood exactly who
the enemy always was and that we as human beings have been called
to a greater good…

These selfless brave men and these women who have served and continue to serve
our Nation have often offered the ultimate sacrifice of both lives and limbs,
all for a Nation that now is at war with itself…having lost her way.

May their service never have been in vain.
And may we always hold our freedom from tyranny dear…

“…it would have seemed quite impossible, in America,
that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose,
simply for the satisfaction of his whims.
Subsequently, however, all such limitations were eroded everywhere in in the west;
a total emancipation occurred from the moral heritage of Christ
ian
centuries with the great reserve of mercy and sacrifice.”
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

now hiring

“A great disaster had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God;
that’s why all this has happened.”

Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn

We’ve recently taken to exploring some of the highways and byways in
this new area of the state that we now call home.

Since I actually spent about 5 years of my life in this area,
nearly some 40 odd years back, a few of these roads are vaguely familiar…
yet many more are not.
There are many more roads…

I think they call that progress.
I call it confusion.

On this side of the state, we are closer to the North Georgia mountains
then we were at our previous home.
And one thing I can say is that the ins and outs to those mountains have all
pretty much remained the same since my youth…paved, yet narrow
and curvy.

So as we traversed our way northward, we were met in all the tiny,
medium and larger towns and cities with the sign of the times…
HELP WANTED…
NOW HIRING.

And many of those signs were offering hiring bonuses.

Factories, restaurants–both fast food and fine dining, gas stations,
convenient stores, medical facilities and even farms…
places both urban and rural were each asking for one thing…
employees.

Why you ask?

Well, firstly, we had a pandemic.
It put a kink in our way of life.
It hit our job force—it hit the way we worked and our ability to
provide services… and it fired a direct hit at our economy.

And so in turn, our national level leadership decided
to offer some quick help by sending out stimulus money
in order to tide folks over.
Tiding over until we could get back to business as usual.

The Big Government with a Big G, was expected to bail us
regular folks out.

Who would pay the rent, the utility bills, the insurance when
businesses were shuttered or our income was cut??

All eyes turned to Washington.

Well, we are now basically thankfully reopened.

We are trying to get back to “normal”—whatever that might now be.
But here’s the thing, folks are not going back to work…

They are not going, in part, because the government money is better than a
pay check–it beats having to go to a job. Home beats work right?
So if that money keeps coming, what would be the impetus to get
folks back to work?

There wouldn’t be one.

Because who cares if an economy tanks…just as long as a Big G
government continues sending free cash.
Oh but wait…if an economy tanks can a Big G government keep sending out
free money??
Well folks like Bernie and AOC and Joe and Kamala seem to think so.
Hummmm…

I think this notion of Big G taking care of its people,
and in turn keeping the people on the hooks for the desires of the Big G,
rings of an insidious past…and in turn,
the need for a small history lesson.

Names like Trotsky, Lenin, Marx, Mao, Ho Chi Minh all come to mind…
men who believed Big G knew what was best for the people.
Level all playing fields.
Work for the whole…no personal gain…no one having more than another.
The people are the ants, the leaders are the ones, like the grasshoppers,
who gather the fruits of the labor.
They have the dachas…and we the people are to fall into place and do
our part.
Big G then becomes the god of the people.
And in turn, a perfect utopia…

Well, if you know your history, which nowadays most folks don’t, well none
of that had a very happy ending…just saying…

“If only it were all so simple!
If only there were evil people somewhere
insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary
only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.
But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of
every human being.
And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

abnormal


(Mary Magdalene on The Chosen played by Elizabeth Tabish)

In yesterday’s post, I mused and rambled on about the meaning and notion
of the word “normal”
and that’s because I was playing catch up from having been away from blogland for
nearly a week and I kept reading post after post that each were each exploring
the idea of what is meant by normal.

So after a little investigating, I surmised that normal is a base, a root, a footing
a grounding.
It offers stability as an anchor.
It is a starting point.

It had been my intention to elaborate and to write about the opposite
of normal…that being abnormal.

I intended to relay all of this around the craziness that is currently
taking place across this Nation of ours within our schools.
What with the push, or in some cases the quiet and sinister implementation
of Critical Race Theory into the curriculum of our schools—
along with the push for the teaching of and embracing of transgenderism—
all within our schools and all without the input of our parents.

A dictated sort of agenda, implemented with no regard to parental feelings
or thoughts about what their children should or should not be a part of.

I had intended to address the opposite of normal education with that of abnormal
education…
but then something interceded…something jumped in the way of that train of
thought and is now taking me onto a different and more important thread of thinking.

I watched episode 6 of Season 2 of The Chosen.

These backstories…oh my goodness—

Growing up, reading the Bible—the various individuals that we’ve always
read about, learned about—well, they are people from long ago…
their names are familiar….but are “they” familiar?

Their stories are shared and well known… but them, as actual people, well…
they have always been a bit sterile, obscure…even distant.
As in… they were way back then and we are now—how do we relate?
It seems we can relate on some levels but not so much on other levels.

That’s what I like about The Chosen—granted there is certainly
some artistic interpretations taking place but in the end, it brings
life to these past trailblazers.
They become real life—not bigger than life.
They become like you and me.

Take Mary Magdalene for example.

We know that Mary had lived a hard and tormented life…
that is… until she encountered Jesus.

He healed Mary.

Allowing her to became a new creation in Christ.

End of story right?

Well, most likely not exactly.

This particular episode of The Chosen offers us an example of backsliding.

If you have become a Christian, encountering Jesus on your own personal road
to Damascus, then you must also know backsliding.

It happens to all of us at some point or another.
It can happen on a catastrophic level or it can happen in a small
almost inconspicuous way—but it happens none the less.

We let ourselves down and in turn we feel as if we’ve let the Christ
of our Salvation down.

In the beginning before there was sin—Adam and Eve were “normal”
They were the foundation and starting point in God’s creation.
From them was to grow a people of God.

However, God had afforded them, and in turn us, freewill…and with that freewill,
sin was allowed to enter into that which was normal.
Sin took normal and created the abnormal within creation.

But note the importance here—freewill was freely given.
God knew what He was doing and yes, it would break His heart,
but he did not want to make mindless puppets but rather true children
who had choice.
Real, true, unconditional love allows room for heartache.
Plain and simple.

So no glitch on God’s part, no mistake.
God does not make mistakes.
And in turn there was a freely given choice for man.
Not an easy gift to give…but one freely given and one readily taken.

So back to Mary.

Mary, like all of us, had a past.
Her’s was a dark hard past.
And sometimes we discover that our pasts are hard to walk away from.

Think addiction.
How often has someone gotten clean from alcohol, drugs gambling
or even pornography only to fall back into old hurtful patterns?

For reasons we may never understand…some folks get clean,
and or get saved and can walk a pretty straight path afterwards
for the majority of their lives.

For others the walk is not so easy as they fall backwards, time
and time again.

It is hard and it is frustrating and it is painful.

The Chosen explored the idea of Mary falling back into her
old ways–only to feel that now, she was even more than unworthy of Jesus.
He’d healed her once—how could she go back to him knowing she
had thrown away his gift while she reclaimed her tragic past?

It’s like being in a lake, unable to swim any longer, someone
throws you a lifebuoy—and yet you push it back seemingly to prefer
to try saving yourself.
Finally the person who hopes to help has to jump in the get you.
Suddenly you feel an overwhelming sense of shame in having refused the
lifebuoy as you’ve allowed this individual to put him or herself in
jeopardy at your selfish expense.
Yet they save you none the less.

Jesus knew of Mary’s dilemma and in turn sent Simon Peter and Matthew to fetch her–
bringing her back to the fold.

She came back—ashamed.

But Jesus saw no shame in Mary.

He forgave her backsliding.
He embraced her and her brokenness.

Just as he does the same for each of us.

We were normal.
We sinned and became abnormal.
Jesus heals us, mending us to normal…
but everlasting normal comes only when we are truly reunited to and with Him
in Heaven

He takes our abnormal while offering us back normal

adjective
adjective: abnormal
deviating from what is normal or usual, typically in a way
that is undesirable or worrying.

For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

the devil is indeed a liar

If a man say, ‘I love God,’ and hateth his brother, he is a liar:
for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen,
how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
And this commandment have we from him,
That he who loveth God love his brother also.

John the Apostle


(Satan from the Passion of the Christ)

I’ve often heard folks state, “the devil is a liar”…
and I honestly think I’m beginning to see this expression much more clearly
with each passing day…Satan is indeed the master of lies.

He coerces, massages and manipulates what we think we know..caressing it into
something all together entirely different,

And you may or may not have figured it out yet, but we are living in the midst of
his lie.
The current rending of our nation’s very being is case in point.

Divide and conquer is his modus operandi—divide the fold…
send in the wolves to disrupt the heard…
send the fold scattering…scattering in every which way…
and then…begin to devour…one by one.

I recently picked up Bob Woodson’s (Robert L. Woodson Sr) book,
RED, WHITE, AND BLACK
Rescuing American History
from Revisionists and Race Hustlers

I’ve referenced Mr. Woodson before.

Here is Mr. Woodson’s dedication:

No nation is perfect, but America–more than any other–
is a place where people from every imaginable background have been able
to pursue their dream and realize their potential.
Americans have never met a problem we are afraid to tackle or a challenge
we can’t overcome.
I fact, those of us who have faced the most formidable challenges in life
often become our strongest leaders and our greatest patriots.

This is as true of black Americans as it is anyone else.
During the worst of Jim Crow, we built thriving communities full of families,
churches, businesses, and countless civic institutions.
On the very soil where we once toiled in forced labor,
we found the seeds of our liberation.
At a time when many are trying to pull us apart by stoking grievances
and sowing discord, the overwhelming majority of Americans remain
devoted to our founding principles and to one another.
This book is dedicated to this countless millions who love our country,
despite it’s flaws, and long to live together in peace.

Mr. Woodson’s words…”at a time when many are tying to pull us apart by
stoking grievances and sowing discord, the overwhelming majority
of Americans remain devoted to our founding principles and to one another…”

Mr. Woodson speaks of Americans…those of all races and backgrounds.
He does not believe in the lies of divide and conquer.
He does not believe in the lies of critical race theory.
He does not believe the lies of separating and belittling
one race over another.
He does not believe in the lies of rewriting what once was into
something much more palatable.

Rather Mr. Woodson extols us all to cast aside those same lies.
Seek the betterment…seek a collective and unified sense of hope…

We are one nation under God…no matter how much Satan wants us to
believe the opposite…that we are a divided nation while there is no God.

Hold fast America…do not believe the lies.

Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

Psalm 25:5

“Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things”

“Be brave and try to detach your heart from worldly things.
Do your utmost to banish darkness from your mind and come to understand
what true, selfless piety is.
Through confession, endeavor to purify your heart of anything which
may still taint it.
Enliven your faith, which is essential to understand and achieve piety.”

St. John Bosco


(Notre Dame pre fire / Julie Cook / 2018)

Yesterday, I wrote a post about a Catholic priest from Wisconsin,
Fr. Altman, who is being relieved of his duties by his bishop.
The bishop states that Fr. Altman is both “divisive and ineffective.”

The real reason for his removal is due to his publicly stating that
one cannot be a true Catholic while supporting abortion…
one cannot be a true Catholic and a democrat.

That was a comment directed to both then presidential candidate
Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Two politicians who espouse to be practicing Catholics yet
are both very vocal regarding their support for abortion.

Support for abortion is a stance that is in direct opposition
to the teachings of the Church.
Or so we thought…

Fr. Altman was also very critical of fellow prelates who would deny their flock
communion during the course of the pandemic.

Father Altman doubled down on his stance despite the threats from the Church
hierarchy.
“Jesus warned the Apostles and us that if the world hated him,
it would hate us, just because we are trying to be faithful.
In other words, the world will be divided by the truth,” he continued.
“There will be we who are faithful, who follow the truth,
divided from those who are not faithful and who oppose the truth.”

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-fr-altmans-bishop-has-asked-him-to-resign

My post brought about a powerful comment from our biology leaning friend IB
(aka Insanity bytes)

I don’t think she will mind if I share that comment here:

Good stuff, Julie! This really triggered me,
“other shepherds are offended because I simply state
the fact that they abandoned their sheep in a time of need.”

Yep!

My church stayed open, never wavered even when things got heated,
so I was really blessed!
Just the same, every church around me shut down and some are
still shut today.
It’s been such a huge betrayal,
such a feeling abandonment that goes all the way down to my toes.
I had always thought the church would be there for us,
the church is our refuge when an asteroid is heading right for us
or a global pandemic comes.
I did not expect to see so many collapse and abandon their
people immediately.
A church who is not there for her people during hard times
is not a church. A two week quarantine is understandable,
forgivable.
But more than a year?
Get off my planet!

Obviously I got some powerful feelings about all this. 🙂

My response was a resounding AMEN!

It is a betrayal really.
A betrayal by those who’s calling has been to be the very
shepherds and polestars…those who are charged with directing souls
to the risen Savior.
And as IB states so succinctly, it has been a total collapse.
A collapse of the very institution that has been charged
with spreading the very Word of Salvation.

My response to IB:
“Indeed IB— if the Church—as in our sanctuaries, our places of refuge,
our earthly tangible connection to Jesus himself…
if they lock us out during our very hour of need—
if they remain(ed) silent when seniors were shut away from all family
with many dying isolated and alone,
if they refused communion to a spiritually hungry fold or if they
side(d) with death rather than life—
that is not the Bride of Christ as we know her.
Shepherds of the world or shepherds of Christ—
they need to truly ask who it is they serve!!!

When I think of our Church, our bulwark never failing,
I am always reminded of the scene from that classic 1939 movie
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with the cries of Quasimodo “SANCTUARY”…
meaning one is safe and protected within the walls of the Church…
the Church will protect those who seek her aid…

Here is a scene from one of the greatest films of the 1930s.
The gypsy girl Esmeralda (Maureen O’Hara) has been sentenced to
hang for witchcraft in front of Notre Dame cathedral by
the Chief Justice (Sir Cedric Hardwicke).
She is saved from certain death by the cathedral bell-ringer Quasimodo
(Charles Laughton) to the delight of Gringoire,
who loves her (played by a young Edmond O’Brien) and given sanctuary.

And so if the Church now decides to side with the world…our
sanctuary… our help in ages past and hope for years to come,
has become just another victim, lost to the cancel culture wars…

“Whenever that sacrifice of Christ is memorialized in the Church,
there is an application to a new moment in time and a new presence
in space of the unique sacrifice of Christ Who is now in glory.
In obeying His mandate, His followers would be representing in
an unbloody manner that which He presented to His Father in the
bloody sacrifice of Calvary.
After changing the bread into His Body and the wine into His Blood:
He gave it to them (Mark 14:22).
By that communion they were made one with Christ,
to be offered with Him, in Him, and by Him.
All love craves unity. As the highest peak of love in the
human order is the unity of husband and wife in the flesh,
so the highest unity in the Divine order is the unity of
the soul and Christ in communion.”

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, p. 401-2
An Excerpt From
Life of Christ

to he!! with…or rather a tender reminder…

I spent my junior year in Switzerland.
On the way back home, I spent some time in England,
and I remember going to Hyde Park Corner.
And there was a Roman Catholic priest in his collar,
standing on a soapbox, preaching the Catholic faith
and being heckled by a group.
And I thought, ‘My goodness.’
I thought that was admirable.

Antonin Scalia


(Families gathered at the Idaho Capitol building on Saturday, March 6, 2021,
to burn masks at a protest over COVID-19 restrictions.)

Ok, so today–I wanted to jump on the soapbox–
I wanted to jump on a box and shout at the top of my lungs that’s
it’s time to burn the masks!!!

I am so over the masks that I can’t stand it!

Two vaccines in and I’m still required to wear a freaking mask????
I can’t breathe…I know… where have we heard that phrase before??

But no, I can’t.

I wash them.
Yet the heaviness is undeniable.
I can’t see as my glasses constantly fog.

I can’t hear.
Because everything is muffled.

I can’t judge people’s reactions
My husband’s gazillion dollar hearing aids constantly flip out when he
attempts to put on and off the masks…
and as he’s gotten accustomed to reading lips…well, we can’t see lips.

I’m tired.
I’m sick…as in literally with upper respiratory infections…

So why after two vaccines do I still have to wear a mask??
Tell me the science there???

Yet rather than continuing this triad…something else stopped me in
my tracks today.

Bloom where you are planted.

Many many years ago–I can remember writing a letter to my godfather,
who was an Episcopal priest.
I wrote the letter when I was a freshman in college.

I was young, rather lost and truly seeking any and all direction
for my future.

One line from his response letter glared from the page…
“Bloom where you are planted”

Meaning…hang in there, wait were you are, because things will
begin to come to light…do your best where you are because
God is at work, right where you are…rest and trust…

So as there has been so much I’ve been wanting to say regarding
all the craziness taking place…
from the constant shootings and murders taking place daily in Chicago,
to the Anarchists destroying Seattle and Portland, to California,
to Wokeism, to the nonsense of systemic racism, to defunding the police,
to Minneapolis, Louisville, to Elizabeth City Tennessee…
to folks like LeBron James who use their lucrative limelight to play politics
and yet who fail to “get it”…to governors putting the kibosh
on their constituents by keeping their foot on the necks of freedom…
to false narratives, to a lack of real science masquerading as fear
mongering…to forcing 2 year olds to wearing masks…to the
maligning of our law enforcement, to people who don’t understand
that poor choices equate to poor outcomes.
That law is law whether we like it or not.
Your actions have direct outcomes…for good or bad.
It’s that simple.
Assinine!!!

All of this was percolating to the surface today in my mind while
I was driving along a picturesque country road.
The hay fields were sparkling under a brilliant April sun
all the while as I was ruminating on what I wanted to say and
how I wanted to say it via a blog post.
Yet suddenly, driving down the road, a school’s billboard caught my eye.

“Bloom where you are planted”

Whoa.

My godfather has been gone now for several years and
I miss him and his wisdom terribly…but here he was.
Grabbing my attention in a way that only he could.

Reminding me…hang in there, God is at work…be patient and make
certain that you do what you need to be doing right where you are…
there rest will fall into place…God is in charge… you are not.

fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10