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

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)

Celebrate our Nation’s day of Independence

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom,
can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”
“…Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty,
may acquire fresh Property:
But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom,
can never be restored.

John Adams


(Julie Cook / 2018)

Notice how I use the phrase “celebrate our Nation’s day of Independence.
Not the day for privileged white people, not the BLM day,
not the vaccinated people’s day…but the day for the entire Nation—
as she celebrates her Independence…
As in all Americans…

May it always be…

I’ll be back in a few days after the Mayor and Sheriff head home….

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.
It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same,
or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and
our children’s children what it was once like in the
United States where men were free.”

Ronald Reagen

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

time marches forward or does it?

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


(time’s toll on a sunflower / Julie Cook / 2021)

Not much time to chat due to grandparent duties but I did want
to squeeze in a thought that has been percolating in my brain…

That being the thought of history and time.

Pretty deep and vast subject matter I know, but
perhaps the point of this percolating is more subtle and succinct
then the topics themselves.

I have to admit that, years back, when I got my first Apple computer along
with an eventual iPhone, I began to utilize the e-calendars on those devices.

Traditionally I had kept a wall calendar at home as well as in my classroom.
Never one to use one of those notebook planner / organizers that
Stephen Covey made so popular in the 1980’s, I stored most dates in my head.

I tried planners but I was not dutiful when it came to working in them
as one was expected. I was usually on the move, so much so, that storing
things in my head just worked for me.

And that head system of mine worked pretty well throughout my tenure
as a teacher until I began to notice that I would miss a hair appointment here
or a meeting there…getting days and weeks a bit skewed.

We call that age.

So wall calendars were big with me…

Once technology began to trickle into both my professional and personal life,
the electronic calendars were quite handy as I especially liked the alert
systems allowing my device to alert me as to an upcoming appointment.

However I was a little peeved when I realized Apple had pre-inserted various
“holidays” onto the calendars.

Some “holidays” I knew, some I did not.

Now I understood having the biggie National holidays marked
as most business, banks and post offices are to be closed.

And it was good to see where days, say like, Thanksgiving or July 4th,
were going to fall during a week when it came to planning time off,
trips or family gatherings.

And I suppose having Ground Hog day pre-marked is a good thing
if you like using a giant rodent as a weatherman…
yet in our family, having that date marked was good because it also happened
to be Aunt Martha’s birthday.

However I have to admit that there were a few “holidays” that I would
have preferred having the option to delete as they were
not pertinent to me and my world.

When I first saw Juneteenth, marked on June 19th, I had no idea as to
what that was all about.
It seemed so random.
Was it some sort of millennial thing that I was not privy to…?

Well naturally, I needed to investigate.

As a one time history major…
how did some things ever seem to elude my studies?

Or was it merely presented as a different name as the notion of a Juneteenth was indeed more new to me than old?

Juneteenth it seems, marked a day for the emancipation of enslaved
African Americans.

Ahh—well….
So why not just call it Emancipation Day?
And so through my investigating, I discovered that it was indeed referred to
as Emancipation Day in Texas as well as Jubilee Day, Freedom Day or
Liberation day…

I think I like Jubilee Day the best as that is indeed something to
have been jubilant over!

So now I get it.

But what I don’t get, is why there are now groups of folks out there
who are saying that July 4th should no longer be relevant…??!!

There are sectors now claiming that America’s day of Independence should
not be recognized.
As in July 4th is not a day of liberation from tyranny…
They are saying that it is not a day of independence
for black, brown, red or yellow Americans…

Now I’ve written long and hard about the importance of a
young Nation’s fight for independence.
That that initial fight for freedom was but the beginning of
many freedom fights to come.
One begetting but another.

I’ve written about how Betsy Ross and her flag were not and are
not symbols of racism—as she was both a pacifist as well
as an abolitionist.

Here’s a link to that previous post:
https://wordpress.com/post/cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/28222

And I noted in that previous post..
“Slavery was not a new problem to a new Nation.
Nor was it a problem created by the new Nation.

It had been a form of “free labor” used by other Nations long before
there were 13 colonies and even before there had been a new land.

And the Quakers (of which Betsy Ross belonged) were actually
one of the first religious groups to denounce the ownership of slaves
and vocally oppose the practice of slavery.

Betsy Ross, the Continental Congress, and the new flag had nothing to do with racism
or slavery…end of sentence.”

So when I read or hear of certain groups out there clamoring that
July 4th is not representative to all Americans or that it is
not a day that all Americans should recognize as a day of this Nation’s
independence…well I get a bit rankled.

Like I say…that fight for freedom set in motion more freedom fights
to come.

And so when I hear such talk, I feel it’s important to remind
folks of a few facts…
Facts like Betsy Ross, along with the flag she created to be carried
by the Revolutionary soldiers, had nothing to do with the new
hot button word, racism.

Or the little fact that men, both black and white, actually had the
right to vote long before any color of women.

So after a hard fought emancipation, came a suffrage movement…
where eventually all Americans were afforded the privilege to vote in
free and open elections.

But hearing so much talk these days about separating black from white…
I just don’t understand.

Wasn’t the quest for emancipation to have all people in this country
living free and on equal footing with one another?
Having the same sorts of opportunities—not hand outs but
opportunities??

And in turn, didn’t generations before today’s new angry and woke generation,
fight hard to bring about that same equal footing???—was it not their desire
for the divisiveness and strife to end??

And yet today, are we not seeing a backwards trend?

Rather than the hopes and toil of all those Americans, of all colors,
in previous generations who labored just so you and I could work side by side
in a Nation that is both by the people and for the people…we now
have a new generation who wants to go back to separations and division…
back to hate and immense anger…

The unity so many fought for and even died for…is now unraveling before
our very eyes…
May it not be so.

As we ready for another year’s Day of Independence may we remember
to honor all those men and women of all backgrounds, both past and present,
who made, and continue to make, the ultimate sacrifice for our ability
to be free…
and sadly that freedom seems to now be a matter of fussing and cussing with
one another…

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of
chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God!
I know not what course others may take; but as for me,
give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry

where ever shall we begin….

“If you are suffering from a bad man’s injustice,
forgive him—lest there be two bad men.”

St. Augustine


(lovely treasures found along a morning walk /Julie Cook / 2021)

Each and every passing day I want to spout off my take on the
latest madness besieging our lives…
The idiocy of man…and woman…all playing out here in the US.

And each and every idiocy deserves its own epistle.

But there simply is no time in which to keep up with the
turning of the surreal wheels.

As soon as I could write about one thing, something else pops up
and the popping just keeps popping.

Critical Race Theory
Woke School Boards
Woke schools
Wokeness in general
US Education
US Representatives and their big ignorant mouths
Race
Political egos
Egos in general
A US president who, for our own saving grace, needs simply to
sail off to the sunset…taking that wife and son with him.
A vice president who is a silly little girl who simply needs
to be taken away…
Borders
Migrants
Immigrants
MS13
A culture hellbent on canceling most of the life we thought
we knew and loved….
The Media which really is no example of what true journalism is all about.
Vaccines and masks—nuff said
Propaganda
Faucism
Posers
Imposters
Lies
falsehoods
Madame Speaker
The Squad of imbeciles
American Flags
Disrespect
alternative history
triggers
emotions
tender feelings
adults being babies
immaturity
whimps
safe zones
feelings…nothing more than feelings…
Crime
More crime
violent crime
riots
protests
laws
what laws?
Help wanted
checks
Welfare state

on and on it goes…
there is no time to start on one topic before another topic
steals the spolight.

and wouldn’t you know it…
The Mayor and Sheriff are coming to spend the majority of the week
with Mom and Da while Mommy and Dada go on a much needed bit of R & R
Which in turn means you must pray for Mom and Da!!!!

Heck…let’s just all pray now–cause prayer is about all any of us
still really have left…

I think I’ll just take my chances with the ensuing heat, humidity
and cicadas—at least those three things are brutally honest

“To love God’s will in consolations is a good love when it is truly
God’s will we love and not the consolation wherein it lies.
Still, it is a love without opposition, repugnance, or effort.
Who would not love so worthy a will in so agreeable a form?
To love God’s will in His commandments, counsels,
and inspirations is the second degree of love and it is much more perfect.
It carries us forward to renounce and give up our own will,
and enables us to abstain from and forbear many pleasures, but not all of them.
To love suffering and affliction out of love for God
is the summit of most holy charity.
In it nothing is pleasant but the divine will alone;
there is great opposition on the part of our nature;
and not only do we forsake all pleasures,
but we embrace torments and labors.”

St. Francis de Sales, p. 76

How do you forget our Nation’s greatest sacrifice? You don’t! Inexcusable Mr. Biden

“Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor,
a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization,
and to set free a suffering humanity”

Franklin D. Roosevelt


(American cemetery/ Normandy, France / Julie Cook / 2018)


(Utah Beach coastline / Julie Cook / 2018)


(Utah Beach coastline / Julie Cook / 2018)


(Utah Beach coastline / Julie Cook / 2018)


(Bullet marks / Normandy /Julie Cook / 2018)


( all images /Julie Cook /Normandy, France / 2018)

How does President Biden forget to commemorate the 77th anniversary of D Day???

There is no excuse.

He shouldn’t have forgotten…his administrative staff shouldn’t have forgotten…
and in turn, we know without a doubt, we have grave problems.

“You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have
striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The
hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war
machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of
1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats,
in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home
Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions
of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.
The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to
Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in
battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great
and noble undertaking.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Baptizer

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet:
“I am a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

John 1:23


(Jonathan Roumie and David Amito (back to camera) as Jesus and John the Baptist in Episode 5 of season two. Image: “The Chosen”/Instagram)

Have you watched it yet?
Episode 5, Season 2 of The Chosen…?

In this latest episode we meet the cousin of Jesus, John the Baptizer.
Plus our beloved Mary the Magdalene is seen to suffer a bit of
a set back when she encounters a demonic possessed man.

Now you know I’m loving the Chosen.
It’s like Dawn Marie noted in a comment the other day regarding my most recent
post about this wonderful crowd funded series—-each character we meet during
each episode offers a glimpse into each of us…
The quirks, the negatives, the setbacks, the brokenness speaks to each of us.

That’s in part why I enjoy the series so much…the back stories…
And yes, the creative license into the back stories of each of our favorite
Biblical characters is perhaps a bit far reaching,
however it allows us to feel a deep sense of connectivity.
They become real…real like you and me…and who’s to say that that real
is not really real??

Plausible, fictitious, real or false….we simply don’t know.

They had lives..they had personalities…the had faults…that had
something that drew Jesus to each one of them…

We have each suffered, we are all broken…
and yet He can and will still call on us.

But…in this particular episode, we meet the cousin of Jesus…
John the Baptist.

That seemingly wild man who lived in the desert, eating locust and honey while
wearing a camel hair and a leather belt.

He preached to the animals as well as to all who had ears to hear.

He spoke of One who was to come after him…

Yet the Chosen offered us a bit of a different take on John.

And to be honest, I don’t know if I liked this particular depiction.

As wild as John is depicted in the Bible, I always thought him to be
focused…focused on a higher spiritual plane…
not necessarily political, despite his focus on Herod Antipas.

The Chosen, however, seemed to portray him as more zealot…
and whereas a zealot is one who is fanatical…which John was…
I felt that this portrayal of John was more of an egoistical political
rabble rouser…and not one who was immersed in the Spiritual.
That of one on a different plane than the average human.

He joked a bit more than I felt the true John would have with his
cousin, the Son of God. He pushed his cousin…he pushed him to
get on with his “mission”, all of which I don’t see the real
John having done.

An impatient John?
No…I have always seen John as a polestar.
Not impatient but rather one who was content with pointing the way.

Meanwhile, we are now worried…. we are worried about what Mary is
up to.
What did meeting another demon possessed soul do to her healing…
her transformation?

As Believers, we all know that backsliding is real.
It can be a constant battle.
Satan knows our weakness.
He knows our achilles heel..and he plays on it masterfully…
yet in the end Jesus and our healing will prevail

So…what say you??
What do you think?

I baptize you with water for repentance,
but after me will come One more powerful than I,
whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you
with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Matthew 3:11