Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Coming of The Queen

With the 2016 presidential campaign already in full gear (Lord help us), I am thoroughly looking forward to reading The Queen, an upcoming book about Hillary Rodham Clinton and her obsessive quest for the White House. The title is a play on Machiavelli's The Prince, which tells us that five centuries don't do much to change the dark side of human nature and its corrosive drive for power.

The book will be released in June but is available for pre-order. Author Hugh Hewitt's books are always readable and packed with solid information that has been verified beyond questionability. The Introduction, linked here, is a juicy kick to read. It will drive Hillary bonkers, because it's such an authentic description of her and her motivation.

As anyone who has been paying any attention at all in the last twenty years knows, if there's one thing Hillary can't abide, it's authenticity.

I've been a Hewitt fan, follower, and listener since I stumbled upon his radio talk show in the summer of 2002. He sometimes remarks on air that his mission until the next presidential election is to keep Hillary out of the White House.

From your lips to God's ears, Hugh. Along with Peter Schweizer's Clinton Cash, may The Queen hit #1 on every bestseller list and be read by every concerned voter. The "survival of the realm" may depend upon it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Writing on the Wall

Handwriting is quickly becoming a lost art. I'm saving whatever surviving letters I have received over the years. I suspect that old-fashioned "letters" will be collector's items before too long, and they will certainly be something to show and explain to the grandkids.

I notice that even 40-somethings today print in block letters when they are forced to put pen to paper. When I went to school, back in the Middle Ages, "Penmanship" was a subject that you were taught, then tested and graded on. I remember I got as high as an "A-" in penmanship. In many school systems today, cursive handwriting is not even taught to the students. 

It's rather sad that our grandchildren probably won't understand what "getting a letter" means. If you're past your twenties in age, think back through the mists of time, all the way to the quaint 1990s. Do you remember when you found a handwritten envelope addressed to you in the mailbox? Admit it--it made your day!

Those days of pen and paper, like the days of board games, hardcover novels, and telephone landlines, are mostly behind us. But I think the decline of cursive writing is a loss for us all. You can write that down.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Celebrating Churchill

"If you're going through hell, keep going."

My favorite historical hero from the 20th century is Winston Churchill. April 9 was Winston Churchill Day, which may come as a surprise to many. It's the anniversary of his being granted honorary US citizenship. To celebrate this superlative leader, you can download his 8-volume biography for free from Amazon until midnight today, April 11.

My dearest hope in these troubled times is that we will soon be blessed with a similarly wise and fearless world figure who will lead us to more peaceful conditions. Judging by the current cast of characters, we'll have to wait a bit. Meanwhile, I've got my inspirational summer reading lined up.

Churchill at work, 1941

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Manufactured History

"How strange that Iraq, WMD, bombing, and preemption reappear in the news, but now without the hysteria of the Bush era."
~ Victor Davis Hanson

Every American voter should read Victor Davis Hanson's article, "The Biggest Lie."

So much is happening in today's world, much of it terrible--and most of it terribly reported by agenda-driven media outlets. It is very easy to forget basic facts of of recent history. Hanson's refresher course in truthful observation is an important and timely reminder for all who are willing to pause, reflect, and face the reality of how we got to the perilous place we are now.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Stepping Up to the Day

Irish step dancing is a workout; I know for a fact. My aunt had lessons as a girl, and she taught me the basics of the jig and the reel in my grandparents' basement when I was nine or ten. I, in turn, taught my younger sister and my daughter. Irish dance music seems to go on forever, and so do the dozens of lively, repetitive steps that accompany it. By the time you finish a full jig, you've more than compensated for the extra calories a St. Patrick's Day dinner brings.

The best part of Irish step dancing, for me, is that it's so exhilarating. It's non-stop motion, almost like flying on earth. When you're really caught up in an Irish dance, you do feel as though you can spread your wings and take off.

Maybe that's why an Irish step dancer's arms are kept still, close to the sides. Happy St. Pat's Day to all.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Electronic Waste

It says a lot about how far this country has fallen that anyone can possibly believe Hillary Clinton should still be a viable candidate for the presidency--a Secretary of State who set up a secret email server, ignoring every law, rule, and regulation on the books for managing official government communications. Not to mention ignoring national security, history, and the right of the people to know what's going on in our government.

Yet Hillary sends out a tweet, hunkers down, and hopes to weather the storm through time, as always. How can she still be taken seriously as a candidate? Are there no more standards of behavior to be respected, no laws to be honored?

It would seem not. At least, it seems that standards and laws don't carry the clout they used to--especially when a Clinton is involved. And she's still considered the "frontrunner" for 2016. How sad for all of us. No wonder the world is in flames.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Pause for Thought

Some interesting perspectives from Fr. Robert Barron after last month's Coptic Christian martyrs were slaughtered at the hands of ISIS butchers.

Using fascinating history from the time of Jesus Christ's crucifixion, Barron gives a clear explanation of why ISIS invests such fanfare and dramatic spectacle in murdering Christians. Simply put, the "Nation of the Cross" gets under their killer skin. Don't they ever stop to question why?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oscar Afterthoughts

Even though I don't go to the movies much anymore--and I definitely can't tolerate a nano-second of any other awards shows--watching "the Oscars," Hollywood's top-ranking annual self-love festival, is an enduring habit I can't seem to shake.

Although I'd only seen one of the nominated "Best Picture" films this year, I still made my picks, set up my snacks, and settled into the sofa for four hours. (Hey, once a year can't hurt, even if it is Lent.)

Predictably, as always, the show ran overtime and straight into Downton Abbey. While much of the proceedings do tend towards boring, there were a few notable moments, both shining and awkward. Here are my winners:
  1. Julianne Moore - charming and classy in her Best Actress acceptance speech.
  2. Lady Gaga - shocked me with her gorgeous singing in the Sound of Music medley. Who knew?
  3. John Travolta - could use sexual harassment prevention training. Just ask ScarJo or Idina Menzel.
  4. Chris Pine - dude, what's with the tears during Glory? David Oyelowo, yes. You? Get a grip! 
  5. Michael Keaton - good to see him just enjoying being back on the "A" list, but I wish he'd won.
  6. Sean Penn - "SOB" to the Best Picture winner? Really? Joke or no, trashy.
  7. Neil Patrick Harris - fine job as host, but did we really need to see him in his underwear?
Last night was the 50th anniversary of me watching the Oscar telecast. I think I deserve an award.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidents of Note

Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota - Four Influential Presidents
Today is "Presidents' Day," a blandly impersonal, generalized celebration of national chief executives. Prior to 1971, there were two specific presidents honored in February, on their birthdays: Lincoln on February 12 and Washington on February 22. Both dates were holidays, regardless of which day of the week they fell on. However, as three-day weekends became more important in American society than our unique history, our two greatest presidents were homogenized into the colossally boring Presidents' Day.

You could call it a redistribution of our historic wealth. We might as well have an "Avocados' Day" or a "Televisions' Day," for all the meaning the day now imparts.

In honor of this watered-down occasion, here's a link to the "Top 10 Most Influential American Presidents." I disagree somewhat with order and choice, but for the most part it's a solid list:

1.  Abraham Lincoln
     No argument. He saved and preserved the nation. Number One for sure.

2.  Franklin D. Roosevelt
     A bit too much on the socialist side for my taste, but due to the events of his tenure, there's no doubt FDR belongs on the list.

3.  George Washington
     I would put "the father of our country" a close second to Lincoln.

4.  Thomas Jefferson
     This is about the right spot for TJ.

5.  Andrew Jackson
     I don't know if Jackson should be listed instead of James Monroe or James Madison.

6.  Teddy Roosevelt
     For creating the National Parks system, TR belongs not only on this list but in heaven.

7.  Woodrow Wilson
     Presided over the implementation of the Federal Reserve and the League of Nations, the precursor to the UN. Influential? Yes. In a good way? Um, I don't think so.

8.  Harry S. Truman
     In using the atomic bomb to end WWII, HST had to make probably the most difficult decision in history. Definitely deserves a place in the Top 10.

9.  James K. Polk
     Polk should be higher on the list. No, he didn't "steal" Mexico. He bought and paid for California, Nevada, and more with $15 million and opened the American West.

10.  Dwight D. Eisenhower
      What DDE is doing on this list is beyond me. See #5.