Captive Culture

For some, it’s been called The Culture Wars. For others, it’s simply life in the 21st Century. Whichever your particular point of view, unless you’re under 20 years of age, the world is quite different from the one into which you were born. At its most basic level, the phrase defines two competing ideologies or sets of values, each seeking preeminence in the public square.300357

Some observers pose the rivalry as Red States versus Blue States or Democrats versus Republicans or Progressives versus Conservatives. While each description has its merits, I prefer to think about The Culture Wars in terms less political. I think such categories hamper a clear view of the landscape and foster polarization. Continue reading “Captive Culture”

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Draw A Poem Day

After the weekend’s events in Garland TX, we’ve had an ongoing and vehement discussion about things including the concept of “hate speech.” With a $10,000 prize drawing people to the Mohammed Art Exhibit and Contest at a Garland civic center, two gunmen arrived from Arizona ready to commit violence and mayhem. Instead, they were quickly killed.Rockwell-Muhammad

Criticisms of the Garland event haven’t fallen along predictable lines; people from both right and left have railed at the event organizers. Words like “incendiary” and “hate-monger” and “nutty” and “vile” abound as descriptors for organizer Pamela Geller. Speaker Geert Wilders is similarly lambasted for his outspokenness. Both have received numerous death threats. Continue reading “Draw A Poem Day”

It’s Going To Be An Issue

Little more than a week ago, I posted about what was then the upcoming oral arguments presented to the United States Supreme Court dealing with same-sex marriage. That post, titled Children In The Crosshairs, related one of my personal concerns about the impact this decision (due in June) may have on innocent children.charles churchNow that the arguments have been presented and the attorneys have fielded interrogatories from the Supremes, I’m noting another concern being expressed. The ominous death knell for Christian organizations (churches, schools, etc.) appears to have sounded and was summed up by author Joe Carter in his opening paragraph here: “With six words –’It is going to be an issue’ – the U.S. government signaled to orthodox Christian colleges and universities that if they don’t drop their opposition to same-sex marriage they will lose their tax exempt status.”

Continue reading “It’s Going To Be An Issue”

Vive La Difference!

The world is a fascinating and diverse place, isn’t it! When I peer out my windows in the morning, I see the gently-fluttering leaves on half a dozen different kinds of trees. (Unfortunately, with nary a leaf between them, two apple trees my Beloved planted a year or two ago appear to have succumbed to the elements.) I’m fond of this season as trees transform almost overnight from bare-naked stick figures into full-bodied lush green finery! Diversity.diversityOutdoors isn’t the only place where diversity is easily recognizable. We have eight splendidly diverse grandchildren … five grandsons, three granddaughters. Each of them exhibits a completely unique personality with divergent interests and proclivities.

Since he was old enough to make basic motor noises, our youngest grandson, near to celebrating his fifth birthday, has expressed an interest in vehicles of all kinds (more diversity). He can identify things about trucks and tractors and farm implements that I’d never have known without his explanations!

Another grandson, soon to celebrate his tenth birthday, is less expressive, but his brain is absorbing everything he sees. His specialty (among other things) is grasping how mechanical objects work. Diversity. Continue reading “Vive La Difference!”

Three Minutes To Midnight

Perform a Google search for the term Doomsday Warning and a curious mixture of results pop up. On one side of the coin stand the naysayers who earlier this year advanced the symbolic Doomsday Clock two minutes because of concerns about global warming / climate change / or what people sometimes call weather.DoomsdayClockOn the coin’s reverse are other naysayers (so-called preppers and survivalists, economic forecasters, purveyors of precious metals, etc.) who are just as certain we’re moving closer to midnight … but their basis for saying so differs from the Doomsday Clock crowd. Continue reading “Three Minutes To Midnight”

Children In The Crosshairs

According to information I’ve read over the last couple days, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments next week that relate to same-sex marriage. With nearly 150 friend-of-the-court briefs already filed, the justices will hold an extended (2½ hours) hearing.

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/8r2bxx
FROM: http://tiny.cc/8r2bxx

As I understand the issue, SCOTUS will be grappling with the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment which was ratified in 1868, granting US citizenship to former slaves. Suffice it to say, I’m not Constitutional scholar, but I can certainly read the text of this amendment and understand why it was adopted as part of our Constitution. Continue reading “Children In The Crosshairs”

Flying Solo

An item in my email this week caught my attention. With wedding season gearing up, my credit union sent an email hawking what they characterized as “EverydayLife Loans” providing extra cash for the big events of life. Naturally, the promotion drew my attention.Wedding Loan

Yeah, those “big events” tend to be costly nowadays and the credit union is there to help … including “expenses for your wedding, honeymoon and all the little things along the way.” With rates as low as 8.75% APR, the picture (shown below) showed a celebratory bride and groom and the tag line:  “One less thing to worry about.

Continue reading “Flying Solo”

The Science of Settled Science

Remember back in the good old days when the Geocentric Model of the universe was the authoritative view? (Of course, you don’t remember those days, nor do I … I’m old but not that old!) History tells us geocentrism was the accepted model from about 150 AD when astronomer/mathematician Ptolemy developed this view to explain the Earth being the stationary center of the universe around which the known planets and Sun revolved. This concept remained the predominant view until the 15th century.

FROM:  http://tiny.cc/dbzxux
FROM: http://tiny.cc/dbzxux

Look closely at the image above to understand what was considered “true” for centuries. When men like Galileo (1564-1642) began to question conventional wisdom, they faced opposition and vilification. As the “father of modern science,” Galileo’s advocacy of a heliocentric model (the Sun as center) positioned him in direct conflict with religious authorities. His books were banned, he was accused of heresy and forced to recant his views. For many years he lived under house arrest.

The idea of a geocentric universe seems laughable to those of us looking back from our 21st century perspective. From our earliest school-days, we’re taught the planets (including Earth) revolve around the Sun on an elliptical path. How silly those early scientists were to have thought otherwise! — But that could never happen today, right?

Continue reading “The Science of Settled Science”

Walking Dead At Downton

On the surface, the two shows (The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey) could not be more different. What they do have in common is – at least here in the central time zone – both shows air at 8 p.m. on Sundays. That requires some juggling, yes, so maybe things are getting slightly muddled in my brain … did Lori have a baby or was that Edith? (Both.) Was Matthew Crawley killed by zombies or a car wreck? (The latter.)downton_abbey_simpsonized_by_adn_z-d6qw7zh

I know, I know! I’ve probably stepped on everyone’s toes by suggesting any of the above. But the huge casts involved in both productions make for some interesting contrasts, don’t you think?Walking-Dead_Simpsonized-by-ADN_hi-660x293Unfortunately, though the shows have been running about the same amount of time, the Simpsonized images (shown above) don’t offer a good comparison for the number of characters. Both shows have numerous recurring (or minor) characters, while Downton appears to have relied on special guest characters whereas Dead has not. Continue reading “Walking Dead At Downton”

Deconstructing Fifty Shades of de Sade

Here we are … celebrating Valentine’s Day 2015. It’s a long weekend due to the so-called Presidents’ Day holiday … which was initially a celebration for George Washington’s birthday (the 22nd) … but then was expanded to include Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (the 12th) as well … and when Congress suggested honoring all US presidents with a single holiday to be known as Presidents’ Day, they never actually approved the bill! Still, Presidents’ Day became the default – though unofficial – name anyway! So, Happy Presidents’ Day / Valentine’s Day or Happy Valentine’s Day / Presidents’ Day or if you prefer … Saturday!ValPresDayThis is also a highly-anticipated (by some) blockbuster movie weekend. According to BoxOfficeMojo’s forecast headline, “‘Fifty Shades” To Dominate Valentine’s Day Box Office, the film will “set a handful of box office records” this weekend. The same website’s Friday Report employs an apt headline:  “Moviegoers Submit to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.Continue reading “Deconstructing Fifty Shades of de Sade”