September 24, 2021

Quick Takes

Well, to quote Springsteen, “the calliope crashed to the ground.”  Meaning the summer of wine and roses has fled and we’re left with STS (sudden temperature shift). Going from the hot days in St. Louis to yesterday's 50s-with-wind has been an attention-getter.

Of course we’ll probably get a fine rebound of temps next week or three, but I predict the longterm deterioration of the weather will continue (doesn’t take a prophet!). 


I’m always delighted by the psalm that goes, “the Lord takes delight in his people”.  So counterintuitive, especially these days!  Funny that God could take delight in us -- unless he’s like a child, i.e. has a sense of wonder and appreciation for his creation. 


It’s telling how difficult it is to govern well, even when you’re not beholden to interests. Take the case of Ohio’s “maverick senator”, Frank Lausche.  I’m reading the Ohio section of Gunter’s 1947 “Inside the USA”. Gunther is an opinionated “outsider looking in” and he has part of a chapter on Lausche, praising him and saying his political career is far from over despite a loss for governor. In that Gunther was right, but more interestingly to me is how Lausche came in with his own guiding compass, even threatening upon entering the Senate as a Democrat not to vote for LBJ for leader. He did vote for LBJ (one mistake right there), and on the major issues of the time dropped the ball, namely on Vietnam and federal spending (except for not wanting Housing & Urban Development). Even with the right motivations it’s pretty difficult to get even the big issues right. He had no crystal ball but that’s a lot of times what we expect of leaders. 


Why beautiful churches? mediation on yesterday's reading from Haggai:

Haggai 1:2–15 (NB Ho-Mal): This rallying of the people to get them to rebuild the temple may seem a minor matter compared with the high moral tone found in the prophetical books generally. However, it derives from a profound faith: the people, whom God “created”, will never have a proper sense of their identity unless they can see God in their midst. This idea comes across clearly in the middle of the oracle: “build the house … that I may take pleasure in it and that I may appear in my glory” (v. 8). This should be read in the context of other biblical passages that assert how good God is to reach down to his people: “For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his habitation: ‘This is my resting place for ever’ ” (Ps 132:13–14). A logical consequence of this is that God should be offered the best that we can give him, and that offering should also be seen in the beauty of church decoration, for the arts, “by their very nature, are oriented toward the infinite beauty of God which they attempt in some way to portray by the work of human hands; they achieve their purpose of redounding to God’s praise and glory in proportion as they are directed the more exclusively to the single aim of turning men’s minds devoutly toward God” (Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 122).

September 23, 2021

St Louis in (Parts of) Three Days

Saturday: It’s funny how the little things decades past continue to enthrall me in 2020. Like desks. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Back in 1970 I was enthusiastically reading at my very first one. And in this case I’m appreciating the one in The Pear Tree Inn hotel room. 

A desk is one of the underrated wins of the last half millennia: the table upon which, to paraphrase Barry Manilow, “the whole world writes”.  Give me a wooden desk and a mini-fridge and the hotel sings. 

A great thing about vacations is that a single day can encapsulate 3 to 4 “normal” days. Everything is new, different.  A wealth of days in a single day.  And this felt like one of those in starting at 7:30am and traveling to the metropolis of St. Louis, arriving around 2:30pm local time (3:30pm our time).  We’d made the trip leisurely by some things willed and others not. Willingly we stopped at the quaint town of Casey, Il, population 2,620 (as of 2019!) to see things that are the world’s largest: like the mailbox, three stories and functional enough to accept real mail if one is willing to climb to the top of the stairs and enter the large box. I was touched by the thoughtfulness of not just having an outlandishly huge mailbox but then making it a receptacle for real mail, even to the point of warning that postage was necessary.  Elsewhere there were Dutch shoes the size of small elephants. And there was the indelible image of a rocking chair dominating the city skyline, one so big that actually sitting in it let alone rocking in it would be a fools’ errand.  It was A’s favorite “big thing” and mine as well. 

The unwilling things that impeded the trip involved the now inevitable slowdowns created by a country much in need of service workers: McDonald’s, the fastest of the fast foods, created waits for breakfast and later ice cream that burnt minutes prodigally but without resentment on my part as we needed our breakfast and we needed our ice cream. It was certainly worth the wait, as they say. Another wait at Subway where I had my first sub sandwich that lacked roast beef. It wasn’t delivered that day being the reason. So I had ham. 

So we were not exactly in a hurry but once we arrived near St Louis the pace picked up quickly.  Doug had texted wanting ETA for A and P. We texted them and they were reading and Mom was raring to go soon thereafter. I skipped my plan to run and we headed over there and did a tour of their rooms and some of the campus. Then we planned on dinner at 6 at “Mama’s on the Hill”, a family Italian restaurant a couple blocks from where Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola called home. 

This left a window of an hour to run and shower, not helped by my room key failing to work.  It got zapped by my phone apparently. The gal said, “this happens often.” Sigh.  That took 15 minutes (of the hour I had) by having to wait in a dog-slow line because there was only one person at the front desk, an apparently iron-clad rule regardless of the number of people in line. The sheerly amazing thing is how long one person can remain in line contesting some fine print on their bill.  To paraphrase what Dad later said, this too might be us?  

Even more aggravating was playing the elevator slot machine, where you push the button and you see if you’ll wait 30 seconds...or 10 minutes! Mine was the latter, helped by the fact that I didn’t press “1” on the way down by lazily assumed I could press it when we reached “2”.  No, the elevator has a mind of its own and quickly overruled my “suggestion” of continuing to go down. It perversely headed up, and I hit each button going up, trying to force it to stop. I eventually “won” on floor five. At which point I won the reward of getting off the elevator and pressing the down button and waiting an interminable amount of time. In hindsight I should’ve just clung to that elevator and its whims and pressed “1”. 

Needless to say my run was greatly abbreviated though I did experience the sights very nearby, like Union Station, an Irish pub, and a small grocer. I could see a Ferris wheel in the middle distance and the Arch (world’s biggest arch?) in the far distance. 

I cleaned up quickly and we headed down to outside the lobby where the girls picked us up (yay!!) for the Italian place, “Mama’s on the Hill".  We got stuck by a train, naturally, and were late but it didn’t seem to matter as we were seated nearly instantly in a nice round top.  I had the best margarita of all time, the Italian margarita, and indulged in toasted ravioli before seeing placed before me the largest baked lasagna I’d ever seen in my life. Surely this was a mistake made by catering, a dinner intended for five. But it was even more delicious than the fabulous pictures indicated it would be and I made some progress at the edges of this mammoth concoction of cheese, beef, pasta and sauce before saying, “no mas” and having it boxed up. The lasagna looked barely dented.  If that dish wasn’t 4,000 calories I don’t know what dish would be. Even Dad, who’d had no lunch and a skimpy breakfast, put away only half. I learned you have to come really hungry to this place. 

It was interesting to hear about A and P's glamorous lives, on the precipice of great change and great achievement.  A will hear Tuesday of her MCAT score but it’s only a fractional component contributing to a larger issue: which med school she’ll get accepted to. And before you know it P will be taking LSAT. 

Afterward we hit the hotel bar for a couple drinks at the bar/restaurant next to hotel to round out the eve! Beautiful artwork hung all around us (baseballs preserved, probably signed by great St. Louis Cardinals, were under glass and plastic, elsewhere pictures of Bob Gibson and other greats hung on the walls. 

Sunday:  So the upside of being an hour “behind”, as St. Louis is from the gold standard that is Eastern Standard, is that you wake up early and have a leisurely morning as a result. I got up at the unheard of hour of 6am, made myself a cup of coffee, read a bit, played Words With Friends, and otherwise just lounged in a room with large south-facing picture windows.  I joined Mom & Dad for breakfast (8:30 our time) and then more lounging before 10:30 mass (11:30 mass). 

Parking was my nemesis and so today I managed to set a record for most times parking in a tow-away zone in a single day with two. I parked illegally on SLU campus property and later on “hotel guests only” property at Luminere. But no harm, no foul was done to my vehicle. 

We arrived at Mass not long before it began and A and P met us in front. Mid-mass I had a coughing fit so I exited stage right and I’m sure half the people, including A and P, must’ve thought I had covid. St. Francis Xavier (College) Church has that old time cathedral look - in fact I’d say most dioceses in the U.S. would be proud to have this for their cathedral even though this is just a “regular" old church. Built in the 1880s, three out of four Catholics agree that it’s too nice a church to be controlled by Jesuits. 

Our schedule was tight after mass. We had 1pm tour bus tickets, a 15-minute ride to get to the Luminere Casino starting place and thirty minutes available. The wrinkle is that mom needs to go to the bathroom every 4.6 minutes and the church restroom required a map to get to. Literally a map, as you had to go down stairs, to the catacombs, and then hang a left at first intersection. Come to think of it, it might’ve been fun to explore those subterranean churchly passageways but we were time-short. Maybe next time. 

So it seemed best to try for the casino bathrooms. But St. Louis is famous for the Cardinals, who wear red, and the reason they do is that is the typical color of a St. Louis stop light. Red lights last 10-15 minutes. You can do whole crossword puzzles by the time the lights turns green. Meanwhile Mom really has to go and there’s a Walgreen’s and Mom said they all have restrooms (spoiler: fake news!) but I left the righteous path (ie the path to the casino) and headed there. Then there was a gas station where again restrooms were non-existent. We finally arrived at the casino just a few minutes shy of 1pm, and so I parked in the most conveniently located tow-away I could find. Then hustled in. All the bathroom talk made me think I had to go, which probably proves that the need to urinate is 90% mental. 

One of the joys of vacation is not driving, but I could find no way to talk myself into letting Uber do my city driving. That’s just decadent. (Although supporting of the local economy!?)  I’d somehow thought maybe I’d drive to St. Louis but then park it and uber it the rest of the way but that just didn’t fly when I saw the $12-$15 rates even for ridiculously short distances. So the old blood pressure went up but we made it on time. “Hurry up and relax.” 

The tour guide was an older gentleman who did his thing in a rather monotone style, free of jokes. He was the old fashioned “just the facts” Joe Friday. Maybe a touch of the Ben Stein character in Ferris Bueller. I didn’t mind at all.  Certainly no one could accuse him of being Gary Glass. 

We saw large expanses of the city, including the huge park that encompassed museums, sports fields, golf courses, a lake and who knows what else. Bigger even than the famous Central Park. 

We saw the City Museum with a school bus half-way off the top of the building (you had to be there). 

We saw old Victorian mansions on “Millionaires’ row”, built when having a million dollars meant a lot.  We went to the loop area with a bookstore and eclectic shops: Chuck Berry records and ‘50s style restaurants, Pappy’s BBQ with Memphis style ribs (“the best I ever had” said the driver). 

Then round 1:30 we were back where we started and we headed to our next destination: friends N and A on “the Hill”. They looked remarkably unchanged after what has to have been a long, long time. 18 years?

They were as easy to talk to as ever.  Shockingly, they’re moving for the first time in their lives to a ranch house out of the city next month. Pretty intense time for them. They even had homemade cookies.  Mom and A bonded over old ‘50s movies.  Dad checked his phone. 

Next up was the grand basilica. I’m not sure when I started really appreciating mosaics, but it has increased over time. Perhaps first when in Rome and seeing some of the ancient works. And in the Marian Shrine at D.C. And in Byzantine Catholicism where mosaics are common. The last time I went to St. Louis was in 2003 but I don’t think at that point I was as enthralled by the collection of little colored stones as I was this time. Just breathtaking. I believe Mom told me there were 42,000 little stones? 

An organ concert had started at 2:30 and so we were forbidden from entering the church at first. We visited the mosaic museum downstairs (I saw a huge choir book from the 1400s! - everyone who used that book is now dead) and then headed reluctantly out to the car. As soon as we reached the car, naturally, the concert was over. So Mom and I headed back to the cathedral and took it in. 

Now it was after 4 and time to head back to the hotel. I did a run/tour, starting at the local Irish pub before walking the splendid Union Station, now a melange of shops and restaurants and hotel.  Walking into it was like walking into 1920s Manhattan elegance.  Looking around I had the feeling that we didn’t deserve to inherit such beauty since we no longer “do beauty”.  It’s kind of like how some of the Barbarians must’ve surely felt when they took over Rome, wondering if they were really worthy to have acquired such beauty. A civilization capable of creating St Louis Cathedral and Union Station in the early 1900s seems qualitatively different from our own. 

Interesting to learn it had opened four years before great-grandparents left St. Louis. So undoubtedly they were in the same Grand Hall as I was, if only by the trivial difference of 123 years.  The hall was a waiting room for trains so they would’ve been jammed in whereas I shared the large space with only a dozen or fewer people.  The trip from St. Louis to Cincy, about a 5.5 hour trip by car now if no stops, would’ve taken them about twice as long since the average speed was close to 30mph. 


My run was abbreviated by a sudden rainstorm; I hie’d back to the hotel and had to be satisfied with my 1-miler. 

Next up was the happy hour where Dad had not believed three free drinks per person could be found on a hotel on planet earth. He said, more or less: “Unless I see the beers in my hand, and put my hand on the cup, I will not believe.” 

But by 5:30 an enthusiastic crowd had gathered for this event. Mom had her wines, Dad his beers, and me a combo pack of 1 wine and 2 beers. A hotel staffer interrupted the happy hour by saying that should all of us decide to go eat at the adjoining restaurant at once it would not go well. They could not handle that. So we should stagger ourselves without physically staggering. 

So Mom and I headed over to the restaurant, drinks in hand, and no censor censored us despite a sign saying, “no outside drinks can be brought in”. We lived to drink another day.  Dad stayed to wait for A and P and we all had a fine dinner at Syberg’s Restaurant. 

Monday: So we completed our 3-day vacation as the ancient Jews considered it (i.e. parts of three days = three days). I had fond thoughts of maybe hitting something like the Old Cathedral since it was “on our way” but nothing is really “on our way" in a city where finding street parking is an activity in and of itself, and it being a workday and downtown it seemed much easier to just tackle the Big Thing (the drive). 

We ate early and packed and checked out by around 9:15 our time (8:15 theirs) and so headed back on the long drive. It went reasonably smoothly, helped a lot by my not having to stop for food (I had leftover lasagna, protein shake and breakfast at the hotel). But there was certainly the pain of construction which slowed us down and some rain, and I hit Fairfield around 3:00-ish and then landed in Hilliard at 5:15. So a significantly long drive day of very near 8 hours but helped immeasurably by Dad taking a turn. 

Got home and Steph surprised me with an impressive weekend project - she built a deck made of weather-proof material (the same as our front deck) for our chairs in the “quiet forest”!  I was pretty shocked and pleased. Told her I should go away more often since she gets a lot done with me not around...

September 22, 2021

What if Coomer & Dominion Had Been Honest Up Front?

They say the coverup is worst than the crime but that’s not always true.  If Eric Coomer did engage in voter fraud then the lying and coverup that he’s done since then is not quite as bad, although obviously the latter is wrong in and of itself. 

It’s hard to picture it working out well for him and Dominion if he’d fessed up immediately to his trouble past, his strong identification with Antifa, admitting to saying he would make sure Trump went down – even if he could blame on it (very possible in his case given his desire to puff himself up) mere braggadocio. 

Former CEO Joe Oltmann lays out the case, and it’s fascinating to me how even the conservative media (like National Review and others) won’t touch his story, despite a lot of smoke.  I believe everything he says here is true: 

"Let’s recap...

Soros nonprofit and Dominion shared a floor at their headquarters in Canada. Yet no connection. It is a coincidence… 

Smartmatic CEO stated in 2010 that Dominion and Smartmatic shared technology. But there is no connection between the two. 

Eric Coomer in the [recent NYT] puff piece admitted to destroying evidence, admitted to being a skinhead, a heroin addict and criminal being arrested for not just one but multiple DUIs. The piece of trash posted the Antifa manifesto, posted anti American rhetoric, then lied about it and said it was “fabricated”. 

Eric Coomer said, “I wasn’t on that call” But he spews lies every time he opens his mouth…Now it appears this piece of trash and Dominion are on a media path. Ok, I’ll play. 

Let’s talk about the public humiliation Eric Coomer did to his wife. Where he abuses her, makes her bark like a dog and sexually assaults her… then published it. 

Let’s talk about the updates on the election systems on election days. Let’s talk about the log files deleted. Let’s talk about the “trusted build” where Dominion deletes files and election records. Let’s talk about the systems being connected to the internet when the CEO lied about. 

Let’s talk about not knowing who owns the election systems. Start there." 

September 21, 2021

Was Media Suppression of Hunter's Laptop Bad?

A National Review writer called the Hunter Biden laptop blackout a scandal. 

Perhaps, but I wonder if the real problem is that only a third of voters heard about the laptop before the election. You would expect in a country where 50% of the country identifies as right or center-right that half would recognize the corruption of the mainstream media and find alternate media. It's on us in other words. 

The combing rating of liberal media - i.e. MSNBC + CNN + PBS, etc is greater than Dem voting base (unlike w FOX and GOP base). This suggests conservatives and centrists are watching more of Left "journalism" than liberals/centrists are watching Fox.  

I was wondering what if an 18th-century equivalent of the Biden laptop happened: Wouldn't the federalist newspapers cover it and the republican ignore the story or vice versa? 

Is the real problem today merely that GOP voters are slower to realize we’re in a bifurcated environment than liberals, or is there too little choice for GOP'rs? Maybe it’s the latter, that there’s not the media infrastructure on the Right since the Left are generally more attuned to politics and usually ahead of the awareness curve. 

The problem from the right’s perspective is maybe not the corrupt coverage but that it happened so quickly that the Left’s natural advantages - i.e. controlling almost all media orgs when media was viewed as semi-objective - has temporarily made for an imbalance not seen in Federalist/republican times. This is a natural asymmetrical advantage for the Left if the Right doesn't start its own newspapers and suppress politically damaging stories.  

I wonder though if the death of objective journalism has ever occurred before in our history and if so, such as during the early 1800s, if it’s far more dangerous now due to the speed and volume of news, etc... 

One journalist told me that the solution is NOT multiple media because if it keeps going the way we're going "everyone but Rachel Maddow viewers will be a deplorable." Which is certainly the way we're going presently. He added, "Until there is a journalism force that is fully credible with all, I don't think this is solvable." 

He may be right and that's the path Jonah Goldberg has chosen. Feels too late.

September 17, 2021

1/6 Prisoners

Still kind of mesmerized that January 6th protestors/rioters are still in jail after all this time, the vast majority having committed no violent crime beyond trespassing. This was a decent and visible test of the rule of law and the justice system failed dramatically. 

I know I’m not supposed to be surprised because we live in a fallen world, and America treated Native Americans like dirt and certainly Black people have known for years about unequal justice... but this was such a high profile case in a "modern" time. This was a chance for our country to show that the law means something, the right to a speedy trial means something, that you can’t hold someone for 9 months in solitary confinement because you don’t like them. 

On 1/6 I thought: “wow, now maybe they’ll crack down on Antifa violent protestors next time, now that they see both sides do this crap.”  How naive! The plan is obviously to crack down much harder on the Right, of course. Send a message. Compare MAGA to Islamic terrorists. Could’ve seen that coming. I fear it’s the canary in the coal mine as far as those with the wrong political opinion receiving unequal justice under the law. Or religious views. 

Last year came the "preparatory shock-worthy event": Australia’s persecution of Cardinal Pell, who came a hair-breadth of life in prison basically for being a Catholic prelate. 

Growing up, I had such an idealized vision of the justice system. If they can do this to those 1/6 prisoners they can do it to any of us. Reminds me of the saying that we’re ruled by lawyers and they get to pick winners and losers.  St. Thomas More pray for us. 

Update: revised post to reflect lack of clarity on how many who are in prisons who committed non-violent offenses. 

September 10, 2021

What I Was Doing on 9/11/01

The 20th anniversary of 9/11/01. Hard to believe. 

The week before, I was living in the 1700s by reading David McCullough’s “John Adams” and learning that Jefferson hardly said a word during the Second Continental Congress while Adams never shut up, one seeking to avoid conflict at all times in delicious detachment, the other embracing conflict as if it were his birthright…


I doodled some poetry in my journal: 


dust skies

of potent portent

hold clouds of God’s beard

through which the moon rays

twinkle like gauzy diamonds.


I read an editorial in the diocesan newspaper that suggested that instead of getting angry with non-Catholics, one should realize that just as its impossible to love your neighbor without loving yourself first, so it is impossible to respect your neighbor’s religious views before loving your own religion.  

Ironic, I guess, to read that on the eve of 9/11.  Then came the day itself.  From my journal:


A beautiful crystal-clear day began with a meeting in the Auditorium.  I always looked forward to meetings there, with the plush comfortable chairs and the sweet anonymity a large venue affords.  It was scheduled from 9:30-11:30 and I'd planned to get in some reading.  The online version of the New York Times has links to the first chapters of literally thousands of books. The dullness of the meeting caused even my boss to appear to nod off, so I became engrossed in RFK's last moments.  I remember being surprised that an Arab was responsible for his death.   I knew it was Sirhan Sirhan but just thought of him as a crazed assassin, not one with possibly a political agenda.  I thought about the current violence in Jerusalem.

Soon after I finished the last page, the Q&A session began.  The guy in charge was unhappy there were so few questions.   I was sitting in the back row and noticed that  Matt, the sharp actuary had left and now returned.  That seemed a bit odd, since no one ever gets up to use the restroom during these meetings  (usually because it would disturb their sleep).  But he had left and come back and now seemed a little jumpy.   Meanwhile, the guy on stage showed an admirable toleration for long moments of silence.  The "dead air" didn't seem to bother him in the least.  Finally he remarked that he would have to plant a few more questions next time.  At this point Matt walked down to the front of the stage, very odd behavior indeed, and appeared to hand Phil a piece of paper and whispered something in his ear.  Phil,  at around 10:30, gave him the microphone and said, "tell them".  

Matt said this is going to sound like something out of a Tom Clancy novel, but two planes have crashed into the World Trade Center and another one into the Pentagon.   Suddenly there was the image of the World Trade Centers burning on the wide-screen behind the stage, as if we wouldn't have believed him had he not arranged for it to be shown.   It looked as surreal as a Godzilla movie.  Phil immediately told us to go and we headed to our desks shocked and alert.  We dove for the internet, but it was impossibly slow.   Everyone in the country was hitting those servers.,,, - all no good.   Finally we got into  Thirsting for news, I found my walkman and listened to NPR.   My wife, on a business trip in Orlanda, called with a tight, uncomfortable voice and we discussed how she could get home given that all U.S. air travel was halted, apparently for awhile. I called my mom.  

The feeling in those first moments was most of all pure surprise - surprise that those permanent buildings could fall so completely.   Surprise at the catastrophic loss of life - we knew almost instantly from news reports that the buildings probably had 20,000 people in them at the time of the attack and we could do the math.   Just one second of silence for each victim would result in an hour and a half of silence.  The cumulative loss of life-years would probably total over 150,000.   I was also surprised at the seriousness and ingenuity of the terrorists.   I'd always thought of them as fanatical annoyances,  a cost of modern life in that every five years or so they would blow something up and cost the lives of soldiers or occasionally civilians.  And sadly, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 didn't seem to register much for me.  It was sad and tragic but life isn't risk-free and terrorists can't really be controlled anyway or so I thought.   But this was so breathtakingly over-the-top.   This went beyond the normal risk of life and was an obvious act of war.  I couldn't imagine what the terrorists thought this was going to prove.  They'd awakened a sleeping giant, and I was relieved by President Bush's resolve to not let this pass.  This was obviously the kind of crime you could never forget.  We would root out every person responsible if it took 50 years.  I had this image of us like the Nazi-hunters, the Jewish organization still seeking to prosecute 75-year old Nazi's living under false names in South America.   

I was amazed that American soil was so disrespected.  It was as if they had to find bigger and bigger provocations to get our attention.  And the result now is a total sense of clarity - self-defense demands a response and they will get it.  How long had it been since America was a victim?  Never in my lifetime.  It  was such a weird feeling - America a victim?  Impossible.  Suicidal.  What a colossal misreading of how we would respond.    

It seemed a time for prayer. About 11:30 I walked to St. Patrick's for Mass where the atmosphere was electric in its sorrow.   I don't recall much of the Mass other than being distracted.  We prayed for the victim's families, and for all those who had no time to prepare for their death.   

After church I headed back to a cafeteria with the gate already down.   Only 12:30 and the gate down?  The café doesn't close until 1:30.  I asked why they had closed early and the manager said, "they're sending all employees home at 12:45…"  Shocked again.  Closing?   I thought it as an overreaction to what had happened but also realized that there was no way any work was going to get done anyway.    

At home the television became a sort of IV that I couldn't go without for very long without difficulty.  I wanted to constantly switch channels, it seemed unbearable to miss something, some small detail.  I wanted mastery over the facts, and I wanted everyone’s opinion,  Chris Matthews, Tom Brokaw, Bill O'Reilly,  Peter Jennings, Dan Rather…my stepson was livid.  Furious.  Meanwhile the day was spectacularly beautiful.  The juxtaposition was startling.  I'd finally had enough and went outside.  But listened to NPR as often as not.  

September 05, 2021

Is Clarity Inherently Disruptive?

It's hard to sort out what a Christian attitude should look like with regard to politics. Our bishops don’t appear to be a credible guide given entanglements in the gay and government mafias, the latter being money from contracts handling refugees and an understanadable desire to kneel before Ceaser to avoid shrinking an ever-shrinking church and avoid offending political leaders who, to some extent, hold religious liberty in their hands. 

The conflict for me is a wish for unity (ala David French) versus the reality (two countries in a pre-civil war era). It might be just one of timing: French is where I was pre-Trump, and everyone comes to the line of discovery at different times based on different criteria.  Part of the difficulty is simply ascertaining God’s will for the patriotic. When do we recognize domestic enemies as enemies rather than citizens with differing views? I guess it’s just line-drawing. 

Jesus said to love our enemies but that implies we'd have enemies.  In that sense, one can see someone like the California Antifa teacher Gipe as an enemy who needs to be stripped of his job immediately at the very least. He might lose his job but he’ll be taken care of by the Left army, which is what the right needs to do as well. In war you take care of your soldiers. I don't blame the Left if they financially supported Gipe anymore than I'd blame the Confederacy for supporting their leaders. 

David French posted a laughable piece today insinuating that if the GOP wasn’t so Trumpy we could draw in more Democrat pro-lifers, which is sort of like saying, “if the GOP in 1860 was nicer and better, we could’ve avoided the Civil War.” 

Is tribalism inherently bad? When you have a two-party system and one of the parties becomes tribal then it feels like an asymmetrical warfare situation with a big advantage for the tribal side, since they will stick by their own side more cohesively.  This used to be the function of patriotism but that's dead since at best only half the country identifies as American these days. 

With canines, two dogs will get along if one is dominant and one is submissive. This was the dynamic in the country as long as the GOP was submissive and guilt-ridden but post-Trump that seems no longer to be the case and so the country is fracturing. 

The media held the GOP in check for decades by the threat of ending careers but after Trump's victory in '16 it seemed to show that the media's power had ebbed in part due to its own shredding of its credibility. (In '20, of course, the media showed it still had some effective tools in its toolbox, like the astonishing suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.) 

Perhaps there’s a faint echo of all of this in the Catholic Church where the famous dubia was sent to Francis, as well as in Vigano’s dramatic (and non-submissive) letter. I wonder if traditionalists and the pope could’ve coexisted more peaceably without the interventions? 

It seems in the politics of the church and state that a desire for clarity is the beginning of rupture. The desire, for example, for transparency in the election process has been a disaster given that the Dems/media have pushed back so remarkably hard that a bipartisan issue is now knee-jerkedly partisan. Similarly the dubia, which would ideally be seen as a bipartisan request for clarity (on the surface don't both sides want to know if Communion can be given to divorced and remarried Catholics?) ends up pushing Pope Francis to stonewall and feel a loathing for the "instigators". 

In order to hold wildly disparate forces in check, does there have to be ambiguity in order for both sides to feel like they can spin things their way? The problem with ambiguity is it gives little direction or comfort and seems to just kick the can down the road. Perhaps that’s the goal. Procrastinate in the hope things will improve with time. 

The conservative impulse is one of gratitude for the way things are. But what happens when things change so fast that that thing you were grateful for just yesterday (i. e. patriotism, rule of law) is gone today? 

September 03, 2021

Seven Quick Takes

On a picture of an old Irish house like the one I took years ago and is hanging in my hallway: 

Does anyone else pass by a photo of a beautiful house and imagine what it looks like inside? 📸 This is a photo taken by Ontario photographer Gillian M. (missquitecontrary on Etsy) that I bought almost ten years ago and have loved every day since. 📸 It’s a portrait of a house taken somewhere in Ireland and every time I look at it I imagine all sorts of stories that could, and maybe would have transpired in and around it:) 🏡 Isnt’t it funny and strange and wonderful how houses can speak to us without ever actually saying a word…


Copying the culture in order to influence the culture doesn't seem too effective. Protestants started to copy the culture by providing “rock concerts”, female pastors, entertaining sermons, large screen displays. And then Catholics tried to copy Protestantism by ditching the Latin, singing folk songs with pianos or guitars, and turning the priest around as if he were an entertainer on the altar “stage”.  

I definitely like some aspects of the new Mass. The variety of Bible readings is excellent - we end up reading a whole lot more of the Bible over the course of three year cycle than three years with the old rite. I also like that the readings/Gospel are in English. The Latin mass does them both in Latin and English which is too time-consuming and repetitive. 

I’m starting to wonder if the sweet spot is Holy Family Columbus where they do a kind of hybrid: maintaining the elegance and reverence of the Latin Mass (including the Gloria in Latin) and the good features of the new Mass. 


Interesting tweet sighted:
"Listened to Mozart 41 vs falling asleep during nap time today. Music perhaps only thing as enjoyable at 74 as at 18. Food, liquor, sex, human company not as much."


Listened to a Bill Cunningham podcast with author of “Woke, Inc” about how big business went woke in the wake of the financial crisis of ’08. The “Occupy Wall Street” effort really spooked companies and they decided to try to change the subject from CEO salaries to diversity and inclusion since the latter was far easier - all symbolic and trivial, put a few people of color on the Board, etc...

I downloaded the first chapters of Woke, Inc. I read in the sun, in mid-backyard now that September has shrunk the light’s patchwork, and dozed off because nothing is more reassuring than the world is going to hell in a hand basket. It makes my work difficulties look trivial by comparison. 

Listened to Patrick Coffin podcast, and this Catholic is bold. And un-shameable. Edges as close as possible to Alex Jones and Taylor Marshall territory without ever transgressing that line.

Has invited Milo on and now the founder of the “Proud Boys”. Set up a conference against the vaccines for which YouTube banned him. 


From Old Farmer’s Almanac:  “It is so deep in summer now / The pasture bars are almost hid In daisies, where I call my cow / And listen to the katydid.” -Anna Boynton Averill

Another selection from Old Farmer’s: 

"Every year I remember to do so, I plant a row of sunflowers in my vegetable patch; and every year I forget, I miss them. The sunflower is one of the flowers that every garden should by no means be without. I understand there are 70 species of sunflower (genus Helianthus), perennials and annuals, wild and cultivated, some grown for crops, most for fun. Some of the perennials are demure and well-mannered flowers. They do not interest me. I like the big, loud annuals that produce flowers the size of dinner plates, having raggedy, butter-yellow petals and fat, bulging centers. These flowers are essential because of their high spirits and because the sunflower is all flowers, the epitome. There is something touching about the sunflower as well, something to do with its famous turning after the Sun. You can see its heavy flowerhead bend on its stalk to follow the Sun through its daily arc. That faithful, mechanical movement has a sadness: Its faint sorrow marks the passing summer. Especially at this time of year, the Sun it watches is going away unmistakably farther each day, and where it’s going, the rooted sunflower can’t follow."


Alex Marlow, married to a doctor and editor at Breitbart News, got the jab. Mildly surprising since he’s young and fit and would not to be at much risk. Obviously he knows a lot of medical people. He reports:

“Those same [medical] people who I trust in my life who have been giving me really solid information do like the mRNA vaccines better....And they are 100% convinced that Delta won’t be the worst variant, that this will be around for a long time, and some of the variants will be worse. Many of them believe it is made in China, needless to say, and that is partially why this stuff could be this bad, and why it is be so unpredictable, and anything that could help potentially reduce the virus load if we do get worse variants, that could be a good thing.”


Interesting paragraph in new book on covid by Catholic author Philip Lawler: 

“You’ve been encouraged to wear a mask for the sake of others, though, on the theory that you might be infected without knowing it, and thus you could pass along the virus to others. In our scenario [that everyone will get it] this logic is questionable, too. If everyone is doomed to catch Covid sooner or later, how much should you sacrifice to postpone someone else’s day of reckoning? For the vast majority, a bout with Covid will be an inconvenience. Does that sound insensitive? Bear in mind that most of the people who contract the virus will experience no noteworthy symptoms. Granted, others will suffer though something more than just an ordinary “inconvenience.” But you can’t prevent that.... Needless to say, you don’t want to be responsible for a neighbor’s untimely death. Now wait; let’s take a careful look at the ground we’ve just covered. What is an “untimely” death, in this context or any other? (Is there ever such a thing as a “timely” death?) We shall all face death; we just don’t know when. “Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour,” Jesus warns us (Matt. 25:13). Catholics boldly proclaim that every human being has the right to life. But no one has a “right” to escape death. We cannot protect our neighbors from the prospect of death by natural causes, and disease is a natural cause. Of course we avoid actions that would be likely to spread disease, and so responsible people stay home when they are sick. But we cannot eliminate every possible avenue of infection. As long as people live with others, some disease will spread and for some, the disease will be fatal.”

September 01, 2021

Oltmann Update

More of Joe Oltmann's legal woes below. The problem with going after the king - be it the deep state or Dominion - is you have to have the goods in a slam dunk way.  

And there's no mistaking Dominion has dominion. The officeholders who benefited from them are not going to bite the hand that fed it; that would undermine their own legitimacy. Heck, we can't even find out who owns Dominion or ES&S!  It's a black box in a black box all the way down, to mix metaphors. 

I suppose, politically speaking, that merely pointing out that electronic voting systems are not trustworthy according to experts (see cybersecurity folks pre-2020, the Killchain documentary, Democrat officeholders pre-2020, Ohio's sec of state pre-2020, the record of other countries, etc...) is not enough to galvanize people to lobby for change, so the narrative has to go from "the machines aren't secure" to "China flipped votes from Trump to Biden!".  

The media environment is so rife with dire and extreme messaging that it takes extreme messaging and exaggerating to get through, as Trump did in '15 with regard to Mexico "sending us her worst". 

So here is Joe Oltmann's latest: 

"The judge wants me to prove Eric was on the call, by exposing the Antifa associate who gave me access to the call. I need to prove it. Exposing him to the same people who have attacked me is a mirage… 

Meanwhile, Coomer goes on the record stating he deleted evidence AND lied when he voluntarily wrote an op Ed article where he said I fabricated the social posts. So he lied and deceived, admits he is a skinhead that is not a racist (that’s a new one), was a heroin addict and… was twice arrested for a DUI and wrote a smut piece about how he abused, peed on his wife and made her bark like a dog in a public email to the world… and I am the one that these ass clown leftist media hacks says is not credible? Got it… 

Now I see where I went wrong. I should have smoked crack (like Hunter Biden), hung out with skinheads, beat my wife a little bit and write an op Ed about how I once rode a unicorn into Disneyland. Wow, I can see clearly now how I went wrong. Yeah… it must be my life’s choices… obviously. 

You cannot make this up, but by the time I am done… we will turn the corner on all of this and truth and character will matter…."

I'm guessing the way it will go is that Coomer wins defamation suit (he'd lined up correct venue and judge), is awarded millions and it's publicized everywhere which serves as a warning against using your first amendment right of free speech. Oltmann appeals and gets a higher court judge who overturns verdict, but media doesn't cover that.  So deep state gets what it wants: warning to everyone to speak freely, and Oltmann drowned in legal fees. Ugh.  


Update to update, from Oltmann:

...Do you know how absurd it feels to me that I was on that Antifa call. I have gone back and forth, over and over again… I ask myself the simple question, what if this is that bullets collide in mid air moment. What if I was wrong about Eric on the call being the Eric at Dominion. I validated the information, listened intently to videos. I did research to make sure it was actually him. Yet at the time, it was not significant. I was however 100% sure this is who was on the call. What are the chances… and why? Haunted by all of it honestly.  I wish I wasn’t and frankly I wish I did not have this obligation to serve others unselfishly. 

The deeper we get into the election fraud, the more sinister it all appears and the more validated it all becomes. I’ve become somewhat of an architectural expert on election systems which leads me to wonder how anyone can use any of them. They are all flawed in the most basic forms of security. 

And… Why was one man at Dominion traveling all over the world (not nation but world) selling, installing, updating, demonstrating, negotiating and representing the company? How does one man wear that many hats in a billion dollar company? 

I was a successful tech company CEO. I understand consolidation of authority and access. Those jobs he was doing were not the type of jobs you would consolidate, ever. The only reason you would consolidate those positions is to keep the circle tight, and limit the amount of information available on the company to the public. There are only two types of environments where this happens. One is organized crime and the other is government op. I’ll let you all stew on that for a minute… 

This is a company with over 200 employees, where code was written in Serbia, where the primary data center was built and maintained by a Serbian company who’s number parter was Huawei, the US restricted and sanctioned bank and investment firm in China. A company who in the US is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dominion Voting in Canada. A company who’s HQ in Canada sat on the same floor as a Soros shell non profit. Coincidence…

We are talking about a guy who was the speaker invited by Chris Krebs himself to speak at a conference. Hacker Conferences, public hearings.. you name it. We are talking about the Swiss Army knife of positions. 

Now let’s talk about actions. I’ve talked to several people personally who said Eric likes to bully people, prone to rage and drinks profusely. Allegedly He once punched a contractor who he said hit on his girlfriend. He supposedly bought a bar, got in a fight with not one but two of his employees while in a drunken rage. This was not 10 years ago… 

Keep in mind, I had no idea the significance of Eric or Dominion for that matter. I did not know of his history, initially I did not have access to his social media, did not know even initially he was the inventor of the adjudication process for Dominion. I did not know about him being a skinhead, a person who writes about sexually humiliating and abusing his wife. I did not know he was a heroine addict nor did I know he went to jail for DUIs. I did not know any of this. 

Now I do… and it matters. 

I knew he said he had a Doctorate in Nuclear Physics. Turned out to be that was a lie. Not a big lie, but significant enough for the nuclear community. His Doctorate was actually in Nuclear Engineering. Still impressive as it requires advanced math and computation skills, but it is NOT Nuclear Physics. That is a whole other animal of impressive. 

I know he wrote a voluntary op-Ed in the Denver Post. His own words, driven by the purity of the whitest snow that he was a victim and those social postings were all fabricated. Only, that too was a lie… a rather large lie. A lie that caused a firestorm of rage and danger for me and my family. He later admitted those were in fact his social posts. 

But that lie does not stop there. He went on to say later, those posts were “satire”.

And even later than that, that they were no longer satire but were him voicing his frustration with Trump and our country. So the lie became another lie that dwarfed into yet another… lie? The only person that does that, is someone who is hiding, truth. 

Let me dig a little deeper here… before the election, Dominion hired a firm to look into the social media of its employees. They met with some of them who openly posted things related to politics. In these meetings they recommended that they, “lock down, deactivate or close” social media accounts. It was preemptive… almost as if they knew. Now only someone with access to Dominion employees would know this. My question is simple… didn’t they have this conversation with Eric? If they didn’t, why? 

There is also something else that happened. Right after the election, the CEO called an “all hands conference call”. Names that popped up all over were l, you guessed it… Serbian. On this call, they said people would be “watching them” for their own safety. 

Now we get to the admission of destroying evidence. Eric admitted that prior to filing the fictitious lawsuit against me, he permanently deleted his social posts. He destroyed evidence. Then he filled a lawsuit. Completely illegal and disqualifying but, hey let’s not let law and preservation of evidence get in the way. 

Now we deal with a corrupt judiciary… a lawyer for Eric who lies at every turn and all for not lying… and for standing up. 

And at the end of what is in my brain at the moment is the knowledge that the election was 100% stolen. It does not matter how many times they lie and say “nothign to see here”. They have to do that, because even letting up for a minute will quicken the result of accountability.