Sunday, March 31, 2019

Do the Write Thing

From "Don't Forget to Write," National Review Online
It’s outdated. It’s slow. It takes time, concentration, and forethought. But it is incredibly worthwhile — especially if you’re on the receiving end.
~ Sarah Schutte

It's becoming an increasingly rare occurrence for all of us, receiving a handwritten missive in our residence's mailbox. But I think all of us would agree, when it does happen it's an exciting moment.

In the midst of flyers and solicitations, we spot an envelope with a colorful stamp and a splash of cursive handwriting or careful printing underneath, directing this precious paper rectangle exclusively to us. There's a rush of anticipation as we glance to the upper left-hand corner of the envelope.Who is it from? What will it say?

I suppose everyone has a personal system for approaching the opening and reading of a handwritten envelope. Perhaps you rip it open immediately, or place it in some kind of order with the other mail. I always save the handwritten mail for last. The "junk mail" is disposed of first, ripped and tossed into the recycle bin. Then I move to any bills or official correspondence, filing in the proper place as necessary. Only then to I sit down and settle in to open and savor my treasured piece of handwritten communication. I usually read it a least three times, just to be sure I didn't miss anything,

In our age of instant communications, it's a loss for all of us that writing letters has so quickly become a quaint custom of yesteryear. Even I, who used to write several letters of many pages weekly, have been reduced hand-writing only the occasional birthday or thank-you card. Those notes aren't letters, but at least that's something. To quote one dear friend of mine, who loves to send greeting cards: "there's nothing like getting a card in the mail." She's right. No electronic posts, messages, or tweets can simulate that unique thrill of opening your home's mailbox and seeing familiar handwriting smiling out at you.

Handwritten notes inside greeting cards--birthday wishes, Christmas updates, thank-you messages--are all delightful. But as to the last handwritten, multi-page letter I received, I don't know if it was three, five, or ten years ago. I only know that I wish they would come more often.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Liar, Liar, Truth on FIre

Truth is a liberal value, and truth is a conservative value, but it has never been a left-wing value. 
~ Dennis Prager

I found the points made in Assume the Left Lies And You Will Discover The Truth: Reflections On The Trump-Russia Collusion Lie both convincing and, well, true.

Dennis Prager eviscerates the following falsehoods perpetrated by left-wingers:
  1. The Trump-Russia collusion delusion
  2. The "culture of rape" on campus
  3. There is no such thing as biologically objective sex, only subjective "gender"
  4. Global warming will destroy the earth in just a few years
Prager dismantles these four books of the leftist gospel with plain logic. As he explains, the Russia narrative was an attempt to undo the 2016 election. If there is rampant rape on college campuses, why do lefties continue to send their daughters away to school? Trans women are biologically men down to the last cell in their bodies, even if they consider themselves to be women. And if the left were truly worried about imminent death by global warming, they would be in favor of producing nuclear power--the cheapest non-fossil fuel energy available.

As Prager notes, power is the left's "moral lodestar." Whatever advances their agenda is embraced as "truth." The left will never admit that the Russia collusion story was false, because facts have nothing to do with it. Their goal is to destroy President Trump. To continue in this quest, lies are necessary. Brace yourself for many more to come.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Propaganda and Consequences

Image: NPR
Aren't you just bowled over by all the sincere apologies gushing forth from the legacy media machine about the entire Russia collusion farce that they have shoved down our throats for two years? As the kids say, "NOT!" Of course, the media will never apologize for wasting two years of our time, $30 million in our tax money, and crippling the president and federal government with this sham of a scandal.

But Sen. Dianne Feinstein's Chinese spy chauffeur, that story got dropped like a hot brick. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Middle Eastern computer hacker got swept under the microphone, too. Those are two very small items. The real "bombshell"(how many times have we heard that word in the past two years?)  question is, what about the Obama administration's involvement in the perpetration of the Russia collusion story? That's where the real scoop is, all you Einsteins in the dinosaur media--not that you'll ever pursue it.

In the wake of the complete collapse of the Russia collusion narrative, John Brennan has whined that he received "bad information." Excuse me, but Brennan was head of the CIA under Barack Obama. If he had "bad information," what kind of garbage are everyday Americans being fed by the media machine?

Because I have become so sick of hearing about Russian collusion, my television news viewing has been all local for several months. With their arrogant refusal to acknowledge how wrong they have been, and to insist that there's still some "there" there, the elite media machine ensures I'll keep watching hometown news only. They won't miss me, but I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who feels this disgusted. Multiply me by millions and what does the media have? Cancellations. We can only hope that all their "bad information" will finally catch up with them.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

This Glorious Saint

To other Saints Our Lord seems to have given power to succor us in some special necessity -- but to this glorious Saint, I know by experience, He has given the power to help us in all. Our Lord would have us understand that as He was subject to St. Joseph on earth -- for St. Joseph bearing the title of father and being His guardian, could command Him -- so now in Heaven Our Lord grants us all his petitions. I have asked others to recommend themselves to St. Joseph, and they, too, know the same thing by experience . . .
Pacem Studio ~ Art by Christopher Santer
---- Autobiography VI, 9 ~ St. Teresa of Avila

Today, March 19, is St. Joseph's feast day. He is cited as the patron saint of many, including fathers, workers, carpenters, families, homes, dying people, as well as the Universal Church. That seems like quite a bit of ground for one patron saint to cover, but it's actually just the beginning. St. Joseph, notes St. Thomas Aquinas, can act as our intercessor with the Lord for "every necessity, in every undertaking."

One-stop shopping for every prayer? Sign me up. No wonder Joseph was my father's favorite saint, the one he believed was most powerful. Just as St. Teresa of Avila avowed, my father told me that all his prayers to St. Joseph were answered.

Catholics often pray for "a happy death," an event also under the purview of St. Joseph. That means when you die, your soul is in the state of grace and passes immediately into heaven. Dad was a devout man, so I'm fairly certain that was one of his prayers during his last illness.

Very close to midnight one St. Joseph's Day over three decades ago, Dad's final prayer was answered. It was as if a long-time friend had come to collect him at the end of that special day. Going to heaven on the feast of St. Joseph? That's a happy death, indeed.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Answering Evil

Overcome evil with good.

~ Romans 12:21

Today much of the Western world marks the occasion of St. Patrick's Day. It seems a cruel cosmic joke that this joyous holiday, traditionally celebrated with song, dance, parades, and an abundance of feasting and toasting, intersects with the tragic aftermath of Friday's horrific massacre in New Zealand.

One of my closest family members always cites New Zealand as a haven of refuge from the world's hate and violence. For the past several years, after each mass shooting that occurs in the United States, he vows to move to New Zealand.

The lesson here is that New Zealand offered only an illusion of peace and safety. Evil lives everywhere, even in a small nation of breathtaking beauty half a world away. If any answer is possible, what is the righteous person to do?

Do good. Contribute time or money to a favorite charity. Call or visit a friend or neighbor who is old, ill, or sad. Forgive a past hurt. Do one or all of these things. For just as lives can be destroyed by one brutal action, so too can they be gently healed by one small act of kindness.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Safety Second

I flew across country yesterday on a 737-800 jet plane. Fortunately it wasn't one of the infamous new Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that has fallen out of the sky twice in the past five months, killing a total of 346 people. Nobody seems to know why just yet, and dozens of countries worldwide have banned the questionable aircraft from flying in their airspace during the post-crash investigation.

But in the United States, the 737 Max 8 is still airborne. The FAA has called for software updates, so no need to be hasty, right? Despite the lip service US airlines pay to the "your safety is our first priority" trope, actions speak louder than slogans. The real motto appears to be "profits first, safety second."

I'm wondering how the airline staff assigned to these flying question marks will feel about going to work until there is an answer to the problem(s) that caused the two crashes. Passengers can change their flights; they can even change which airline they choose to fly. It's not so easy for employees to make the switch.

Aviation experts are working hard to identify what might be the issue with the 737 Max 8, and I don't doubt they'll find it. Meanwhile, I wish all passengers and crew safe travels--and soft landings.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Creativity, Lost

Mama, life had just begun
But now I've gone and thrown it all away

 ~ "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen

The 2018 movie Bohemian Rhapsody got mixed reviews from film critics. I watched it this weekend, did my own critique, and found that I liked it--very much. These days, it's a rare movie that can pull me in and hold me for two hours.

Actor Rami Malek is impressively successful in conveying the performing energy and personal conflicts of Freddie Mercury, and he has the Academy Award to prove it. But as heartfelt as Malek's portrayal of Freddie Mercury is, no one can replicate the sheer electricity of watching Mercury perform his own material in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Queen's performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert was a uniquely powerful moment in musical history. Watch it on YouTube and see if you don't agree.

As much as I enjoyed the movie, it did leave me wistful that a such gifted singer, songwriter, and performer as Freddie Mercury self-destructed so young. He accomplished quite a lot while he was here, but we'll never know what musical delights might have been to come.