Telephone

As I was stropping the straight razor while reading the headlines on the news feeds, … Just kidding, no intention of using it on myself in any manner – and … I don’t actually own one. But if it’s true that suicide numbers are up and increasing, I am in no way surprised. However, if you allow the headlines to get to you, I can see where despair and hopelessness can set in. At this point, I think everyone agrees with that observation.

Reading the feeds you begin to notice it’s becoming harder to tell who’s saying what or what ‘niche’ they fit into. Mainstream media is out – they, too, have committed suicide; left-wing Tubers say this and right-wing Tubers say that and in some cases, the left-wing message begins to twist and look like something else and the right-wing message appears to be morphing into something unrecognizable as right-wing.

I thought about this for a while this morning. Sort of kicked back and wondered what could be done to get things on track again. My eyes sort of wandered away from the monitor and settled on the phone, which is nearby. I stared at it for a minute or so. Maybe that’s the answer. Could the phone be used to pass along information that is unbiased, a simple description of something that happened or is happening that we should know about.

For example: A watches B plant a campaign sign in his front yard. A watches C walk over to the B yard. C has animated discussion with B. B shakes fist at C. C leans in to talk to B. B turns around and walks away. C shakes fist and walks back to his own house.

Would that scenario be unbiased reporting? How important is it for us to know the context of the discussion? If the discussion is about the yard sign, does that change what happened? If the discussion is about the B dog keeping C up all night the night before, does that change what happened? If the discussion is C stating displeasure that B used C’s parking space along the curb, does that change happened?

It doesn’t change what happened but the example reporting doesn’t explain why A bothered with the scene in the first place. The details will show why this scene is important – or not.

Ok. We need details; but to what extent? How much is too much? How little is too little. No one knows.

A calls D to report the scene between B and C. D then calls H who is way down on the corner away from the scene and repeats the conversation just had with A. But in the telling, D slips in his own understanding of C. Now the reporting has become reporting with additional information not contained in the original A – D conversation. H hurries to call L, who lives a block over, because H knows L had trouble with B last week and this will really excite L.

Remember the game we played in school? Telephone? A whispers a statement into B’s ear. B turns and whispers the statement into C’s ear. By the time Z states out loud the message he received, we find it’s not the original message at all – somehow things have been left out, things have been added and the stated message is no longer the original message.

Maybe we shouldn’t report anything. Maybe we should just be surprised by what happens around us. If it doesn’t happen around us, it can’t hurt us, right?

I don’t know what the answer is but it ain’t the telephone.

A Reminisce with a Point

This will seem a strange post, and in some ways, it is. Back in the fall of 2013, Nicholas, who comments here, corraled Jessica, myself, and Geoffrey Sales, the Yorkshire headmaster I’ve spoken of before (all AATW contributors) to write some fiction. Over that winter we managed about 40 chapters. I can’t speak for the others but for me, writing fiction was a much more difficult task than blogging. You can find it at this link. I happened to reread it yesterday, and it is rather quite good. Not surprisingly, it turned into sort of a synopsis of that great epic, English history, some of you will recognize the characters from that, although from rather different epochs, kind of like those fantasy dinners where you invite the six most interesting people from history to dinner.

This post is one of my contributions, Chapter 35, and it’s here again because it’s something many of our people British and American seem to have forgotten about why our countries worked so well for so long. I hope you Like it.

Pembrook instantly called loudly, “Guard!” within seconds, one appeared, and Pembrook told him to have the wise woman summoned instantly, and then he looked down and added, “and then bring the Lady some watered wine, and do it all quickly.” The soldier looked at him and said simply, “Yes, my Lord,” and clomped off on his mission. In a few moments, a maid came in with the wine for Isolde. And soon she looked comfortable, shaken but comfortable.

Pembrook looked over at her and said, simply, “Milady, since we are mostly waiting for the wise woman, I think I will tell you a story.” And so he did,

“When I was young, milady, as you know, I was the second son of a poor knight, so I had few prospects. My father did get me taken into Alain de Casterlie’s household as a page, but there was nothing else he could do for me. So I worked hard and became a squire and in good time, I was able to be knighted by the earl. But that also made me supernumerary, and so I packed up my belongings and went over to the Empire and entered the tournaments. I won often, lost occasionally but, as you’ve no doubt heard, I became quite rich from the armor that I won. That’s all very well, and it wasn’t a bad life for a young man. But even then it seemed, that I was a bit more honest than normal, and sometimes it cost me a championship, which I found easy to bear.

“Anyway, one day I and my squire were riding out from a city, and I happened to notice a statue, at a scrap dealer’s where I was selling some stray armor. It was bronze and looked quite old, and I quite liked it, so I asked the dealer. He thought it to have little value, so I traded some poor armor for it. Something about that statue just spoke to something deep within me. I couldn’t explain it then and have difficulty now.

“Are you quite comfortable now, My Lady?””

Isolde looked at him and said, “Yes, my Lord Marshal, please continue.”

“Very well, Milady. Anyway, I stored it away, till such time as I had a home, which of course, was after your grandfather let me marry my love, and we were setting up housekeeping at Pembrook. In truth, I had half-forgotten the statue until I saw it again, then I had it placed in the hall where I held civil court as a reminder.

You see the statue is of a not young woman, dressed in the classical style. In her right hand, she holds aloft the two-edged sword of a Christian knight. In her left, she holds a common scale, such as is used in commerce, except that the bearing point on the scale is a brilliant red garnet. And most extraordinarily, she is blindfolded. I came to see that none of this was accidental.

I have always thought that a knight’s sword, which is also a simile of the cross, has two edges for a reason, one is to smite the enemies of God and His people but, the other is to remind us to keep faith with Him, that He doesn’t turn our own sword on us. The scale was harder to figure out though, finally, I came to the conclusion that it meant we are to deal fairly with everyone we come in contact with, whatever their station in life, and do justice to them. Mercy they can claim from God, but as a responsible member of society, my responsibility is justice, although, on occasion, it should be tempered with mercy, if there is reason.

But you know, Milady, I had great difficulty in teasing out the meaning of the blindfold. I spent many hours staring at that statue, trying to figure it out. And then one day, like a bolt of lightning, I understood. I was to treat people fairly without fear or favor, no matter who or what they were, even as if I couldn’t know who they were, and ever since, I have tried to live up to that. It has not been easy, but it has brought me what I have, and it has allowed me to sleep at night.

Isolde looked at the marshal, for a few moments and said, “Marshal, I believe you have found all the elements involved in that statue, except perhaps, one. Why do you think that the scale has that singular garnet for a bearing?”

The Marshal looked at Izzy affectionately, and said, “Milady, as I expected you have gone straight to the heart of the matter. I believe that garnet, represents a person’s honor, for, without that, the rest is scrap metal.”

At that point, the guard entered the hall accompanied by Meg, and the Marshal smiled and said, “Milady I will withdraw now, and the guards will be without, if I can be of assistance, do send for me.” and then looking directly at Meg  he said, “Mistress, your reputation is that you are the wisest woman in the realm, welcome to court, do take good care of her, she is very important to her Realm, even more than she thinks, if you need anything, do let me know.” And with a smile at them both, he withdrew.

So let’s have us a bit of a game. The statue is real, in both Britain and America. What statue is it?

And Still Going

So, 9 years, 3787 posts, 31,900 comments, 6 authors, and a lot of joy and angst ago, I decided to be a blogger. Have I regretted it, sometimes but not often. It becomes a habit and keeps your mind working. That’s why I started it, and it still works.

My most read post with 1832 views is Then He Shall be the Greatest Man in the World,” King George II About what George III, told Ambassador Adams when he told the King that Washington would resign his commission and retire to Mount Vernon.

Jessica’s most viewed with 784 views is The wrath of the awakening Saxon which presented Kipling’s poem and drew on her master’s thesis on Kipling. But part of her charm was that she would wander off the reservation more than I do. Her fourth most read, A spanking good time? an excellent, funny, and just slightly ribald review of McClintock, with John Watne and Maureen O’Hara, and the rousing and quite funny ending, is an example. And one of my favorite posts on the site.

And then there is our Newby, Audre. I’m not entirely sure where she’s going, but I’m enjoying the ride, as are many of you, so we’ll relax. Her most read, so far, is I Don’t Need Proof about the shroud of Turin and Faith with 103 views. which considering she only has been here for 3 months, and views accumulate over time is outstanding.

And memories, I can remember after the 2012 election when a commenter here, whose blog Jess and I met on, was very consoling, saying perhaps we would get a better pro-life candidate in 2016. She was right, we did. But by then she had a raging case of TDS, and betrayed both the Pro-life movement she said was so important and the constitution she swore to uphold. Sad, but it happens.

I also remember clearly the first email from Jessica, following my first comment on her blog, friendly, smart, and very personable. AATW soon became my second home on the internet, as it still is. It, and its author’s, has sustained me through many problems in the last 8 years and a month, even as we worked through similar (but different) problems there.

So, going into our tenth year, what are my goals? I haven’t any. This is an eye on the world, as seen from Nebraska, a Red State view if you will. Other than that, it’s a bunch of friends, so come and join us.

But there is this; like most of you, I take as little notice of The New York Times as possible. But recently resigned editor Bari Weiss made some excellent points in her resignation letter, that we should all consider.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

And this:

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm. […]

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry. […]

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

We are a very small cog in that debate, both in America and in the United Kingdom. I could ask for no more than for this to be my culminating project.

And as the common sense advice goes in the US today:

Buy more Ammo!

Laughing.

There’s a quote from A Streetcar Named Desire that has stayed with me since I was a teenager seeing that old movie for the first time. Here’s the clip:

I, too, have depended on the kindness of strangers. I found great friendship on a conservative UK site; many of those folks have become family to me. I have found patient understanding right here on NEO. Not once – not once! – has anyone called me out or openly laughed in my face regarding this absurd problem I seem to have with proper names. Here’s a little list of proper names snafus for which I am apologizing: Pilot for Pilate; Shawn Hannity for Sean Hannity, President Barlet for President Bartlet. I’m certain the list is longer but my ego can only withstand just so many body blows.

I’m certain you’d be shocked to know that I ‘proofread’ (insert the sound of your laughter here) my essays at least four times before I submit them to NEO for approval. And when I get notification that an essay is going to post that particular day, I read it again – just to be ‘sure’. The only thing I’m ‘sure’ of anymore is that I need a sane person at my desk to gently guide me away from the idiotic mistake I’m going to commit in the next sentence.

Here’s something interesting to make you wonder at: our new priest was born and raised in Ghana, Africa. At some point in his life, he went to school in France – for how long, I don’t know. He’s a naturalized American citizen now. Each Sunday night or Monday morning, he sends me his sermon notes to edit (I heard that snigger, by the way!) and post to our various media. His writings are an odd combination of Gospel, stream of consciousness, a wide palette of colors (or colours as he will sometimes insist), and a wanton abuse of capital letters. I open the file he sends me and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”. Gosh! That’s not very charitable of me. Sorry – the truth hurts. I have, at times, become so mired in his ‘creativity’, that I’ve sent his sermons to our beloved Margaret – an endearing woman and inspiration; she writes for that UK site I mentioned earlier and had a career as an editor for newsprint companies in the UK. I get the most delightful replies from her! She thinks I’m mad to even TRY to edit his sermons and she can be downright hilarious in her ‘corrections’. She gives me hope and makes me feel better.

All that was to tell you that as bad – really bad! – as I am at proper names, I at least can get my point across in a fairly logical, chronological order. So; there’s that.

Listen friends – the next time you see a hopelessly mangled proper name, feel free to call me out on it. It could become a game, like ‘find the hidden object is this picture’. Be sure of one thing – I’ll be laughing.

 

There but for the grace of God …

I was bored out of my mind one afternoon not too long ago and decided to go to YouTube to see if there was anything interesting to watch – aside from the reptile people, how to cook possum, or any of millions of bizarre videos available there. I quite accidentally found a channel called Homemade Everything.

I started watching this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6u4AvZS_AM and decided I liked the young men. I then watched another video and before I knew it, I had viewed most of the videos posted by Mark. I was impressed with his energy, his love for his family, and his love of ‘wrenching’ on vehicles.

You might think that watching videos about a young man with cancer would be depressing, but it isn’t. That’s because Mark isn’t a depressing person and manages, somehow, to come to grips with his life. His is a rare cancer, according to one of his videos, there are only 40 cases of his cancer in the world! What are the chances – golly; I can’t imagine.

He’s gone through the drill – chemo, radiation, alternative medicine, new trial medications, the gamut of what is available today. The fact that it is an incredibly rare form of cancer complicates things considerably. But after a couple of years of trying everything available – and suffering horribly from some of the treatments – he’s decided to stop all treatments and therapies and just get on with his life the best he can. He’s now on hospice care and on the palliative drugs that help with pain. He has a hospice worker (God bless those people who have such a calling) that comes to the house a couple of times a week to check on him, help him, explain things to him as he follows his path.

There but for the grace of God go I. I am a senior citizen (just how in the heck did THAT happen? Yesterday I was 17 years old!) and going through some things related to age. Some of it is painful, some of it has affected my mobility, but mostly, it just angers me. Aging is so – rude!

I watch Mark’s videos, not because I’m grateful it’s him and not me that’s dealing with cancer although in all honesty, that has to be somewhere in the back of my head and I’m sure that’s true of most people when they compare their ‘issues’ with someone else’s, but because he’s inspiring – he gets up, gets around, gets things done, and when his pain meds are working he videos the last of his projects. He was restoring a 1952 Ford tractor and just got to where his energy and strength wouldn’t allow him to finish it. But instead of getting all bummed about it, he has a couple of friends who have taken it and are finishing the project for him and sharing with him how the restoration is going. It’s enough for him. He’s content.

What a wonderful thing to feel – content. I think it’s a God-given thing, contentment. It gives Mark peace and I am finding comfort in it myself.

[ What a wonderful story, and if you can help him with his bills, do so, the miscellaneous expenses must be horrendous, even as the disease is.

Those of you that have been here long enough may recall that my former coblogger, Jessica, went in one fine September morning to her A and E complaining of sinusitis, within 5 weeks she had been in a coma for days and received the last rites of her church, and been sprinkled for the second time with Walsingham water. The NHS and that includes a specialist from London whom the Norwich docs brought  in operated twice, without improvement. And yet, after receiving the last rites on Friday, the next Sunday she was up and about, helping an elderly woman in her ward to eat, cancer free. She too, was in her early 30s.

There is always hope, and there is always prayer, and as we said in a post later that year, Christ the Physician does indeed still walk the halls. And so perhaps one day we shall be able to pray for Mark, as we did for Jess, from the Book of Common Prayer.

GOD, who art the giver of life, of health, and of safety; We bless thy Name, that thou hast been pleased to deliver from her bodily sickness Jessica, thy servant, who now desireth to return thanks unto thee, in the presence of all thy people. Gracious art thou, O Lord, and full of compassion to the children of men. May her heart be duly impressed with a sense of thy merciful goodness, and may she devote the residue of her days to an humble, holy, and obedient walking before thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And my apologies to Audre for hijacking her post. My only excuse is how deeply she moved me. Neo]

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Well, guys, next week is Christmas, and I’m declaring the political end of the year. They are unlikely to either destroy or renew the Republic (or the Realm) in the next week and a half, even including the two major holidays. They should go home and think about the damage they have caused. But they probably won’t so the war will soon resume. Call it a Christmas truce. That’s pretty much life.

In any case, I’m getting on a jet plane to go see my family for Christmas Monday, and so posting next week will be some of my (and your) favorite holiday posts over the years. We will all enjoy revisiting them. And they will incorporate the Christmas post that Jessica wrote that so many of you have been sneak peeking.

Today, I just want to share some of my favorite secular Christmas songs. Yes, even Christians like some of them. Tomorrow will be  Sunday Funnies, Monday, I don’t know yet, and the rest of the week will be favorites time. I’ll presumably be back sometime Saturday, and maybe I’ll get something up Sunday. That said, all I’m taking along is my phone, so don’t expect much from me, maybe I’ll answer some comments, but even that will be limited. You guys feel free to talk amongst yourselves, over the years you’ve added a lot to the place, so have fun, keep it reasonably clean and have fun. No running with scissors, though!

There were a couple of videos out of Parliament this week, which were intentionally funny, and succeeded. Let’s join in the laughter for once with instead of at the politicians.

Tracey Crouch was chosen to give the first Loyal Address (What’s that? I haven’t a clue either, the British are a bit strange sometimes) Anyway, it’s funny, good-natured, an altogether good time. Enjoy!

And other than tomorrow’s memes, that pretty well wraps up politics for 2019, finally!

I’ve been listening mostly to a British station that plays music from the late 30s to the early 50s… I’ve been finding it most restful, and they play a lot of Christmas music, mostly by the people we grew up listening to on the radio or watching on TV. As dark as the world was then, they produced some of the most uplifting music imaginable.

One thing that has happened is that I’ve become a huge fan of the Andrews Sisters. Why? There are a few reasons scattered through this post. Like this one.

Or this, with Bing Crosby

I’ve never heard this better performed.

Maybe an ad with my favorite singer, Petula Clark.

I assume our British friends have long since seen this, but it is a lovely advert.

Those rough men who keep us safe, may not be so rough after all, keep them in mind.

Petula and Rod McKuen? They do an excellent job.

Without comment!

And of course:

But my favorite for this year is this, from the Andrews Sisters. I can’t remember ever hearing it before.

 

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