Random Observations

Feeling a little bit better about things – momentarily, I’m sure, sigh – but I loved this and want to share it. For those of you with a memory like mine, the song is Sweet Dreams by Annie Lennox. You can’t imagine how long it took me to remember the name! I think my hard drive needs a re-boot. Enjoy this…

Just to make peace with Nancy Pelosi, I will tell you this story. For Christmas, I sent my child who has a penis two big food packages of meat, cheese, and a selection of sweets and breads. Also, for my person-in-law, who is married to my child who has a vagina, I purchased a food processor. All the children were pleased.

Every once in a while, you strike gold. I did this morning. I have to share this with you because – well – just because I HAVE to! You need to walk around in my shoes to fully appreciate the things I do to inform you (I know, you never asked me to but hey – it’s my job) of all that is happening in the world. There’s this:

but there’s also this, Feral pigs flummox Puerto Rico, infiltrate communities | Honolulu Star-Advertiser. And finally, just so we don’t get tickled by these stories, here’s a real wake-up call Biggest Wild Hogs Ever Killed – The Outdoor Trip.

Audre’s articles are nearly perfect, so I rarely have anything to add but this reminded me that the phrase ‘Root hog, or die’ goes back in American history at least to the early 1800s. Pigs were commonly left to roam the first growth forests in the Old Northwest and Old Southwest. The result was Cincinnati’s early nickname ‘Porkopolis’. We may not be Pepperidge Farm but we remember in our folklore, like this [Neo]

In the final analysis, we all know he pissed off too many people – there was no coming back from that. But more than that, even if nothing happened on January 6th, the size of the crowd was frighteningly huge. It was the culmination of the campaign rally season and it scared the hell out of people on both sides of the divide. It’s one thing to think a person has power, it’s quite another thing entirely to see digits converted to human beings. Our job now is to figure out what comes next and how to deal with it. We’ve lost a battle – not the war.

Here’s a question – I don’t have an answer and maybe you’d like to make some suggestions (just remember, it’s physically impossible for me to do that! [wink]) … am I the only one that has noticed that suddenly there’s no talk at all about “voting irregularities” (just in case Big Brother is watching) since Jan. 6th? Hmmm …

http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/dunning-kruger-effect

Governing a Free people

We often say, rightly, that our states are laboratories for governance. That means that states can try things and programs that if they work other states can copy. It also means that states can do things that don’t work and a sensible state will do different, smarter things. In the last year, we have seen much of that,

We have watch states like New York, California, Oregon, Illinois, and others as they legislated from fear, and for the pseudo glory of politicians, leading to entire cities being burned in riots that mayors and governors did absolutely nothing to stop if they didn’t actually support them. At the same time. these states almost all wasted vast amounts of borrowed money while crushing small and medium businesses causing what always happens in such cases. The productive members of society from executive to police officers vote with their feet for something better. And too often these people forget they are refugees, not missionaries. We have watched Colorado turn from one of the strongest states to an incipient blue sh^thole state in the last 20 years. One that I personally will not go to without serious reason, where it used to be one of my favorite places. We’ve also watched New York State claim the title as the hardest hit by Covid in the world, made far worse by its governor and government.

Next week we will witness our federal government make that same turn and no doubt it will hurt our nation’s people seriously, caused, like in our blue states at least partially by fraud, avarice, and personal ambition run amuck.

But there is another story in America, as well. You have heard me call Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota the best governor in America several times and I mean it. There is some competition such as Governor DeSantis in Audre’s Florida, and a few others. But sadly, not very much.

I could talk about Governor Noem at length, she is one of America’s new breed of conservative women, who lead effectively and well and make our states something almost unheard of: well-governed, fiscally responsible governments. Most of them come from out here in the heartland. I think that is not coincidental, we are still, even in our cities, still close to the land and the lessons it teaches about what works, what doesn’t, and reality.

If we are lucky, these women will play a bigger and bigger role in American governance, and America will thrive because of them.

Recently Governor Noem gave her State of the State speech, so we will let her tell the story of the state that has done it right in the last year by following the old American saying, as put by Ronald Reagan, the best government is the one that governs least. Here’s the state of the state of South Dakota:

I think and hope we will hear much more of this farmer’s daughter in the years to come.

Yes; it is.

This has been here since shortly before Christmas, it didn’t get published – not because it not a really good article – but because we simply ran out of slots. Anyway, it’s just as valid today as it was then so enjoy. Neo.

As there are twelve days of Christmas, I’m going to push your patience a bit and have a little discussion of the old movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I saw that! – you just rolled your eyes, didn’t you? Don’t deny it – I caught you dead to rights. Anyway …

A couple of weeks ago, I was enjoying the yearly series “A Carol A Day”, written by Margaret Ashworth, a staff writer for The Conservative Woman UK. Along with the ‘backstory’ of the carol writer, and often times the words of the carols, she selects the most delightful samples of YouTube videos that relate to the carols. I highly recommend you go to that site – you can go back to December 1st and catch up or just enjoy the carol of the day. One of the carols she posted caused some interesting comments (below the line, as they say) and some of those comments got me going. Not in a good way.

Some of the TCW commenters hate It’s a Wonderful Life and proceed to share their mean-spirited appraisal of the movie. While some make valid – though obvious – points about the unrealistic portrayal of the characters and insist that if it were honest, the way the movie should go is ‘insert your objections here’. I just sort of bristled a minute or two and then moved on – as you do (a delightful English expression I may have to adopt).

Then, my very dear English friend, my Alys, sent me the link to an article in The Critic https://thecritic.co.uk/its-a-wonderful-life-the-perfect-christmas-film/

It’s meant to be supportive but it doesn’t quite reach its goal. To me, anyway. There’s just something missing from the article. It may warmth; it may be heart. I suspect what’s missing is heart.

First of all – in case you haven’t figured it out yet – IAWL is a work of fiction. Fiction means it is not true. But because something is not true, we are not prevented from taking a lesson from it. There is a great message in this film and especially important – I would think – in this time of me-ism. It is, after all, all about me, isn’t it? Hmmm – one wonders. In any event, we learn what we do has an effect in the world – like the thrown stone causes concentric ripples on the water. Truly no man is an island unto himself. Cast your bread upon the water and it will come back a hundred fold*

The big part of the movie that the Critic’s writer misses is the biggest part of what makes the movie. In his article, the writer says that the angel, Clarence, gives George Bailey the ability to see what life would be like without him; that’s wrong. The scene that matters is the one that shows the night sky with twinkling stars and the audience hears a discussion between God and St. Peter. God hears the prayers of the family and friends of George Bailey and sets about making things right. God and St. Peter choose Clarence, a not very effectual angel who needs help to get his wings, to accompany George on the journey he’s about to take. Clarence is there as a sort of haphazard “Behold, I bring you great tidings”. It is Clarence’s job to help George see what is most important in his life. Unless people understand that it is God ordained for this to happen to George, it’s very easy to pick apart the rest of the film’s premise.

I know you’ll be grateful that I’m not going to go through the whole movie – I’ve already spoken about what’s most important. But I do want you to consider your own life. Simple things we’ve done for others, without their knowing or without them having to ask. These are the things that make our lives wonderful. We didn’t think long and hard about them, we just did them, sort of spur of the moment or an opportunity presented itself. Or perhaps – just maybe – you answered a prayer. I call them ‘Holy Spirit moments’; seemingly coincidental moments when you did something good for someone without even thinking about it. Answered prayer.

My prayer is that your life is sprinkled with these lovely acts and that you acknowledge that you’ve done good in the world. Not to take pride in them but to be grateful that at that moment, you did a good and wonderful thing. For someone else.

*Ecclesiastes 11:1

Now What?

Last week, the Governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem, outlined, in The Federalist, her ideas of the problems that the election highlighted with the Republican Party and conservatism in America generally. If you believe or hope that there is a road back for the United States this is a very good plan, as I would expect from the best Governor in the US. Here’s what I can share of it, do follow the link and read it all.

Our country has changed. We have failed to educate generations of our children about what makes America unique. Few, if any of them, have been taught the history of our decades-long fight to defeat communism. Meanwhile, the left’s indoctrination takes place every day with kids all across America from the time they walk into a school at age 5 to the time they graduate college at 22.

Republicans have not been disciplined enough to do the hard work. The American people need us to fight for them on a daily basis, not just 30 to 60 days before an election.

Our party has some serious work ahead of us. We are going to have to sit down and collectively answer a very simple question: Why does America need Republicans?

The answer to that is very simple: 2020.

Last year, we saw governments all across the country shut down people’s lives. American citizens could not go to church, run their business, or send their children to school.

COVID didn’t crush the economy. Government crushed the economy. And then, just as quickly, government turned around and held itself out as the savior. Frankly, the Treasury Department can’t print money fast enough to keep up with Congress’ Christmas list.

What is so troubling is that by April, we knew that there was a specific vulnerable population that we needed to protect from COVID-19. But we also knew that the vast majority of people would recover from this virus with no serious difficulty. Despite this, very few changed course.

In 2020, despite the virus, if you wanted to riot, loot, and burn buildings down, the government either stood idly by while you did that, or worse, tacitly encouraged the destruction.

Government didn’t punish the violent criminals. But it did everything it could to punish those Americans who simply tried to defend themselves, their families, their livelihoods, and their property.

What we lived in 2020 is the left’s vision for America. […]

The American Dream is possible because of the principles that we Republicans stand for; the same principles that are under vigorous attack by the other side. We believe in certain ideals and institutions, which have served as an inspiration to people all over the world. Those people hold liberty dear in their hearts. That’s why people all across the globe have uprooted their lives to come to America. And it’s why, today, Americans across the country are flocking to South Dakota.

If you think about it, that’s America’s true diversity. It’s a diversity grounded in the pursuit of truth and the virtuous life, where we will be known by the content of our character and our hard work.

We must go into this battle for freedom with our eyes wide open, educated to the tactics the radical left will use, and yet totally pure in our motives. This isn’t about us. It’s about our children and their future. It’s about the example that we set for them. We have one shot to preserve for our children “the last best hope of man on earth.” If we fail, at least they will know that we did all that we could to hold on to it.

GovernorNoem’s vision of America is very similar to mine and to millions of us across the fruited plain. That vision is unarguably under attack from a competing vision mostly from the coasts and including Washington, that owes much more to Lenin, Marx, Mao, Castro, and Maduro than it does to Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, and Washington. Right now we are losing, that doesn’t mean we’ll lose, but if we keep letting the idiotic cowardly GOP run things we’ll be telling our grandchildren what it was like in the United States where Men (and Women) were free. Kurt Schlichter has some things to say in Townhall as well, and he’s far from wrong.

You know they hate you, right? Really and truly, and they want you silenced, disenfranchised, and dead if necessary. That woman the federal cop shot on video in the Capitol, capped for trespassing, was expendable and so are you. Now, one might be accused of “whataboutism” for this next part, but whataboutism is a moral necessity that highlights the lies that form the foundation of our garbage Establishment, and therefore it must be constantly and loudly practiced. What about all those people killed on video whose deaths sparked riots? Now, the initial read on the shooting seems bad, but being the wacky nonconformist rebel I am, I’ll wait until all the facts are in to make a final judgment and just say at present that the shooting looks questionable. But no one will ask the questions. The cop will be cleared and will never, ever be charged, and even if President Biden’s* U.S. Attorney in the forthcoming State of D.C. were to file charges (LOL, sometimes I even make myself laugh), let’s just say I put the chances of a D.C. jury convicting at about O.J. level.

Home

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I hope everyone is enjoying ‘nothing time’; that span of time from Christmas to the first working day in the new year. It’s nothing time because pretty much nothing gets done. There are occupations for which there is no ‘nothing time’ and I appreciate the sacrifices made to be sure everything in the country works when we need it. For the rest of us, it’s a chance to breathe a little after the chaos of Christmas and to actually enjoy all the work we’ve put into the holiday.

I was thinking about when Christmas goes away and the real world descends again and having to put the beloved Christmas decorations away for another year. Which lead me to think about my home. Which lead me to think about ‘home’ and what that looks like today. The American dream has always been owning one’s own home and a lot of people do. What is changing, however, is the idea of what that home should look like. I grew up in New York – most homes there are brick, some stone, a few frame. When the pioneers crossed the country, they took that idea of brick homes with them. Depending on where they decided to stay, a lot of the architecture of the midwest and west is very much similar to the homes of the east. Then regional changes had an impact on the design and construction of homes. Technology and innovation changed the layout of houses and how they could be used differently than our grandparents and great grandparents used their houses.

Today, I’m very much interested in ‘tiny houses’. I am both charmed by and fascinated with them. I live in a house that’s 1800 sq. ft under cover. How much of it do we use? Probably around 1000 sq. ft. As long as my tiny house has a fully functional bathroom with a flush toilet, I’m good to go.

Our children are grown, live out of state; we don’t entertain anymore. A family could use this house to its full potential. The only time the foyer gets used is when Amazon drops off a package; the dining room is lovely but unused, the spare bedroom very rarely gets used. A tiny house makes much more sense for two people or someone living single.

YouTube is filled with tiny house videos. I thought this was brilliant – I’d love this house

We don’t need any more room than that. If I have room for my computer set up, I’m happy. Another option, depending on what you’re looking for is the dome – it’s been around since the 1980s, if not before, and it, too, has been improved. Take a look at these

With the space problems Japan has, they, too, are going tiny. Some are no more than a coffin with a hot plate but some are very clever and airy. Once you’ve gotten over the need to impress people with what you have – which is our tendency when we’re young – you realize it doesn’t really take much to make you happy. There’s a lot to be said for simplicity and freedom from ‘stuff’. It seems to be human nature to fill the spaces we have; the less space, the less stuff. Additionally, I’d a whole lot rather mop 1000 sq. ft than 1800 or 2500 or 5000. It just makes sense to me, those tiny houses. I think I could be perfectly comfortable in one. I have a dream – it’s silly, really – a dream of building a tiny house on a corner of the land my son owns. Far enough away for personal privacy but close enough for coffee and cake of an afternoon. Yes; I’m ready for tiny.

Rowan’s Way: 6 Red Beret

 

The day passed in a blur. After what seemed endless phone calls, things were arranged for Sunday. I would do the 8 o’clock in town and then Communion at 11 at Dunhelm. Stephen, one of the non-stipendiaries, would do the 9 o’clock at Clendon and evensong at Clendon Magna, Stephanie would do the family service at Arburgh at 11 and I would do evensong (traditional language) at Stopford. Little Linstead would, I feared, have to take care of itself. Lord Surtees hardly ever went, and the villagers tended to follow his lead. I checked with the estate manager and he confirmed that would be in order. Seven Churches was just too much for our reduced contingent. I was not sure how I would manage three services, but Vera, the other church warden at St Hilda’s was happy to act as my taxi service. It was a reminder that I really did need it to get on with the driving lessons, though goodness knows when I’d find the time.

By the time all that was done, and I’d phoned Susan, who told me how guilty she felt, and let the webmaster know the arrangements so he could put them all up on the site, I felt as though all I wanted to do was collapse onto the sofa and listen to some music. Instead, I had to get myself ready for Ryan. I could, of course, have cancelled, but as he’d come up earlier from town … gosh, the fibs one tells oneself, I reflected, as I perfected my lipstick, adjusted my silver necklace, and checked that my striped top was properly tucked into my slightly short black, pleated skirt. I thought the red beret would set it all off well.

Bang on the dot of seven the doorbell rang.

“That red beret, just the thing. Suits you Ma’am,” he joked. “I thought you might like the Goose and egg out at Dunhelm, so took the liberty of booking.”

It was the most expensive restaurant in twenty miles, a Michelin star and rave reviews in one of the Sunday nationals.

“Sounds like the first of many liberties, Ryan,” I laughed.

“That’s up to you, and I make it a rule never to tangle with anyone wearing a red beret.”

The restaurant lived up to its reputation, and I felt at ease with him. Yet again, he went the carnivore route, this time guinea-fowl with a white wine reduction, while, again, I went the vegetarian, this time pomegranate quinoa salad with kale. The Chardonnay was excellent, but this time he limited himself to the wine, and one glass at that. By the time the waitress brought the cheese and biscuits, we had relaxed into each other’s company, and the verbal sparring had stopped.

“Is it a cease-fire?” It was as though he’d read my mind.

“Were we at war, then?” I teased back.

“Only the eternal war of the sexes.”

“That,” I said with more cynicism than I had meant to show, “ceases only when the man has taken his prey.”

“I will take your word on anything to do with praying,” he joked, and I enjoyed the pun.

“And Allegra?” I queried, raising the name of his girlfriend.

“She may exemplify your maxim, Rowan, but to be accurate, you’d have to add the prefix, ‘ex’ as that is her status.”

“You or her?” I looked him in the eye. A direct question for once, and I signalled I was expecting a straight answer.

“You!” He smiled. I hesitated, not quite knowing what to say.

Seeing that, he added:

“If I want a chance with you, it would be unfair to lead Allegra on, and as she wasn’t prepared to wait to see how rural affairs developed, we agreed to end it – amicably.”

Now I was genuinely unsure what to say. Of course, he could be making it all up, how was I to know? But as he thought it worth going there, I could hardly question his good faith unless, of course, I wanted to signal that I was not interested; and I was – very.

“Don’t tell me I have finally reduced you to silence?” His broad smile told me he was anything but sorry if that had been the case.

“I dare say there are many more fish in the sea.” I parried back.

“My nets are cast your side of the boat, Rowan.”

“Are you sure you want to catch a lady Vicar?”

“I didn’t bring you here to say I don’t want to see you again, so you can assume I do want to catch you.”

“And I didn’t come, after an exhausting day, to tell you thanks but no thanks.” There, I had said it.

I was not in the mood for coffee, so ordered some fennel tisane, while he, as usual, had an espresso.

As we settled until the easy chairs, he stretched out his hand. I responded. His hand was cooler than mine and strong; I liked the firmness. His eyes met mine.

“Let me get this out now before I regret it.”
I looked at him questioningly.

“From what you said last time, I am assuming that you wouldn’t welcome a full -scale assault on your virtue, so I shan’t try. I mention it in case you have changed your mind, and so you don’t think I don’t want you.”

I heard myself laugh, though did not consciously do so.

“I am an old-fashioned girl,” Ryan, “and if you want modern mores, I’m not the girl for you.”

“You intrigue me, shall we say, and I am curious but patient. We have time.”

“All the time in the world,” I added.

He paid, again, and helped me in with my coat.

“I do like that beret, but I am afraid I lied earlier?”

I began to ask how but discovered that he was not averse to tangling with someone wearing a red beret as he pulled me to him and kissed me. Shivers shot through me, I tingled in places I didn’t usually and found my lips opening. His tongue felt its way in, and I found myself on tiptoe. It was everything those novels said it should be.

I don’t know how long we stayed like that. My arms clung round his neck, and I felt myself pulled into him, his hands on my hips. He felt warm, he smelt delicious. After what seemed an age, we disengaged. He looked at me.

“It’s a good job I made the other promise, the one I intend to stick to.”

Breathing heavily, I could only agree. I had never felt this way before. I was in a daze as he drove me back. As I unfastened my safety-belt he leaned over, and again our lips met. For a moment I struggled with the feelings surging through me, but I held firm.
“Thank you,” I said, “that was … .”

“That words fail you tells me more than you could say, Rowan. Let me ring you tomorrow, and see whether by then words have come.”

He kissed me once more.

As I watched him drive off, I realised that for the first time in my life, I was facing a challenge to my principles. As I hung my beret up, I giggled to myself. It was all very well him tangling with a red beret wearer, but was I up to resisting?

 

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