After trip plans

by baldilocks

Well the danger on the rocks is surely past 
Still I remain tied to the mast 
Could it be that I have found my home at last 
Home at last

— Steely Dan, “Home at Last.” Aja, W. Becker, D. Fagan. 1977.

Only hours ago, I returned to Los Angeles from my truncated Road Trip. I had to return early, due to some personal business in the next few days that requires my physical presence. My body and my car are only a little worse for the wear – all can be repaired – and my soul is a little better for the journey.

I saw some old friends from my days in the USAF and met with a number of online friends, some for the first time. But, mostly of course, I drove.

It wasn’t the first time I had made a long trip by car. CONUS movements during my military days were easiest done by car, in my opinion. But, of course, I was much younger and long-term sitting didn’t affect me like it does now. Even my ankles are saying unpleasant things to me.

Conversely, there is a lot more to do when driving in 2018 than in, say, 1982. Uninterrupted music, audiobooks, podcasts, just to name a few things, are all available to keep the lone driver alert.

The main thing I did, however, was talk to God. There’s something about the movement and the passing scenery – and the solitude — that makes a believing driver want to converse with his/her Maker. So, we got a lot of things said.

I plan to say more about the trip in various venues … while I soak my feet. Strange that my feet hurt and not my backside.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host

Or hit Juliette’s!

Catholic Blogger Kathleen Billings
I speak to Catholic Author and Catholic Blogger Kathleen Billings about the Book Amazing Grace for Mothers at the 2018 Catholic Marketing Network in Lancaster PA

Her Own blog Seasons of the Heart and Home is here. She also writes for Catholic Mom.com

You can buy Amazing Grace for Mothers Here.

I saved Kathleen’s story for last among the non-priest authors because I found her in a place full of absolutely amazing people the most amazing of all. She is clearly still affected by her young son’s sudden unexpected death and the grief is visible within her but at the same time her love of Christ and of life is also clearly visible and shines though at the same time.

I dream of having a faith and a joy as strong as her’s


The 2018 Catholic Marketing Network Interview Bloglist (so far)

Sept 25th Voices of CMN 2018 Catholic Blogger Kathleen Billings Contributing Author: Amazing Grace For Mothers

Sept 24th Voices of CMN 2018 Alan Napleton of Viva Guadalupe and Head of the Catholic Marketing Network

Sept 23rd Voices of CMN 2018 Blythe Kaufman of the Children’s Rosary

Sept 22nd Voices of CMN 2018 Kevin O’Neil Author: LEGO Catechism of the Seven Sacraments

Sept 21st Voices of CMN 2018 Julia Miller of FreshRosary.com

Sept 20th Voices of CMN 2018: Fr Leo Pucelli of Holy Cross Family Ministries

Sept 19th Voices of CMN 2018 Kathy Labosh Author: The Child with Autism Learns about Faith

Sept 18th Voices of CMN 2018 Francine Calabrese Author: The Little Brown Scapular Coloring Book

Sept 17th Voices of CMN 2018 (and the Front Seat of My Car) Susan Joy Bellavance Author of King of the Shattered Glass and Will you Come to Mass?

Sept 16th Voices of CMN 2018 Pete Socks Breadbox Media Catholic Podcasting

Sept 15th Voices of CMN 2018 Mary Radford of Relevant Radio

Sept 14th Voices of CMN 2018 Karnen Saum of Viva Guadalupe and CMN

Sept 13th Voices of CMN 2018 Peter Kleponis Author Restoring Trust a Couples Guide to getting past porn

Sept 11th Voices of CMN 2018 Mary Lou Rosen Author Three Things Divorced Catholics Need to Know

Sept 10th Voices of CMN 2018 Mariana Quan CCC of America on their Animated Series Lukas Storyteller

Continue reading “Voices of CMN 2018 Catholic Blogger Kathleen Billings Contributing Author: Amazing Grace For Mothers”

Over the past two weeks, I have seen first-hand how academia continues to slide into the leftist abyss.

A panel discussion on 9/11 and a debate about Brett Kavanaugh underlined how the ivory tower can negatively affect young minds.

The Department of Journalism at Temple University organized the session on 9/11, which was attended by about 100 people. I initially agreed to participate in the panel because of my longtime experience as a reporter in the Middle East. But I relinquished my role when one of my colleagues objected to “three white men” as the only members of the group.

That’s academic logic. Expertise doesn’t matter; only diversity does except when it comes to diversity of opinion. Here is a report on the panel: https://temple-news.com/temple-community-remembers-9-11-at-panel-discussion/

The panelists also made the following points:

–More people died in the Puerto Rican hurricane than on 9/11, so there was no significant reason to commemorate the events surrounding the attack on the World Trade Center.
–The United States had slipped into “tribalism” because Islamophobia was rampant.
–Bush was bad; Trump is worse.

I have heard a lot of silliness in my time in the academy, but this group was near the top of the pops.

During the question-and-answer part of the program, I couldn’t resist trying to bring some balance to the discussion.

Evil people want to do bad things to the United States, I said. They’re planning them right now. Fortunately, security officials and the U.S. military had stopped most of the bad people from doing bad things.

Let me underline an important fact here. These are journalism professors who are supposed to be teaching future reporters about accuracy and facts. If the teachers believe this hokum, just imagine what they pass on to their students.

At least one student thanked me later for my comments. She intended to join the military upon graduation. At least I had touched one soul that day.

But there’s more. In my media law class, I initiated a discussion about the accusations against Judge Kavanaugh.

For the vast majority of the students, it didn’t make any difference that the alleged incident may have occurred 35 years ago. It didn’t make any difference that the alleged incident happened when both were teenagers. It didn’t make any difference that the accuser couldn’t remember basic details. It didn’t make any difference that the accusations might be politically motivated.

Simply put, in most of my students’ eyes, Kavanaugh is a bad guy.

It’s tough being a conservative in academia, but I’ll continue to fight the good fight!

Helen: Kane will be a dead man in half an hour and nobody’s gonna do anything about it. And when he dies, this town dies too. I can feel it.

Woman in Church: I can’t listen to anymore of this. What’s the matter with you people? Don’t you remember when a decent women couldn’t walk down the street in broad daylight? Don’t you remember when this wasn’t a fit place to bring up a child? How can you sit here and talk and talk like this?

High Noon 1952

Of all of the virtues that a person can have the primary one is courage, because without that virtue of courage no other virtue will endure and a great sign of courage is the willingness to stand tall.

Judge Kavanaugh could have pulled out, history shows that if he had the left would have left him alone in the DC Circuit.  He would still make important decisions and arguments that would be presented to the Supreme Court.  He and his children would still have a comfortable life.

But that easy way out is not for a man of courage and Judge Kavanaugh has courage:

There is now a frenzy to come up with something—anything—that will block this process and a vote on my confirmation from occurring. These are smears, pure and simple. And they debase our public discourse. But they are also a threat to any man or woman who wishes to serve our country,” Kavanaugh wrote. “Such grotesque and obvious character assassination — if allowed to succeed — will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions from service. As I told the Committee during my hearing, a federal judge must be independent, not swayed by public or political pressure. That is the kind of judge I will always be.  I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process   The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out.  The vile threats of violence will not drive me out.  The last minute character assassination will not drive me out”

A lesser man would have cut and run, and plenty of Senators, like the people in the courtroom scene in High Noon would have been very happy if he did, both red state Democrats who will have to campaign on defending or denouncing these two bit smears which will anger voters they need to win, and GOP rinos who fear the left and media.  They would have been happy if Kavanaugh would just go away.

I suspect he won’t because he recognizes the left’s tactics for what they are.  It’s what I saw in 2016

This is about tricking you into letting go of your one chance to stop your own destruction.  They want you to lose your nerve. Furthermore they want the GOP to lose their nerve and the press will do all they can do enable it.

and it’s what some folks like Rod Dreher are only now grasping:

The left will stop at nothing to destroy this man. Three years ago, a friend who defected in the 1960s from Hungary told me that he and his wife, also a defector, are observing that our public culture reminds them more and more of Hungary at the advent of communism. I asked him to explain what he meant. He told me that the ideologically-driven eagerness to destroy people that the Left identifies as its enemies is the essence of it. He said that they will say anything they need to say, even if it’s untrue, to professionally and personally destroy people.

I wondered in 2015, when he told me that, if he was exaggerating. I don’t doubt it at all now. Not after this.

These people must be fought and Kavanaugh is making this fight not only for the sake of the next judge in line, but is taking it for the sake of a lot of people and for the sake of every woman who has a son.  Dreher again:

Tonight I had a business call with someone who lives in one of the bluest parts of America. She mentioned that this Kavanaugh business terrifies her for her sons. The idea that a man could be destroyed because of these accusations infuriates her and makes her afraid. I think that many on the Left are not thinking about the fact that women have daughters, yes, but they also have sons, brothers, and husbands.

He understands if these people aren’t fought bravely in the court of public opinion it will eventually reach the point where they have to be fought with firearms.  Judge Kavanaugh isn’t just saving his name or the hide of the next judge.  He’s saving lives.  I’ll give the last word to John Wayne in Big Jake (1971)

I hate secrets, never knew one to be kept They’ve all heard what’s in that red box, and they all want it. what we’re doin’ by this audacious display is tellin’ ’em they can’t have it. Hell, we may be savin’ some poor miscreant soul’s life by doing this. Maybe even our own.

I Spoke to Alan Napleton the head of the Catholic Marketing Network at the end of the 2018 Trade Show in Lancaster PA

The web site of the Catholic Marketing Network is here

Only two more videos to go!


The 2018 Catholic Marketing Network Interview Bloglist (so far)

Sept 24rd Voices of CMN 2018 Alan Napleton of Viva Guadalupe and Head of the Catholic Marketing Network

Sept 23rd Voices of CMN 2018 Blythe Kaufman of the Children’s Rosary

Sept 22nd Voices of CMN 2018 Kevin O’Neil Author: LEGO Catechism of the Seven Sacraments

Sept 21st Voices of CMN 2018 Julia Miller of FreshRosary.com

Sept 20th Voices of CMN 2018: Fr Leo Pucelli of Holy Cross Family Ministries

Sept 19th Voices of CMN 2018 Kathy Labosh Author: The Child with Autism Learns about Faith

Sept 18th Voices of CMN 2018 Francine Calabrese Author: The Little Brown Scapular Coloring Book

Sept 17th Voices of CMN 2018 (and the Front Seat of My Car) Susan Joy Bellavance Author of King of the Shattered Glass and Will you Come to Mass?

Sept 16th Voices of CMN 2018 Pete Socks Breadbox Media Catholic Podcasting

Sept 15th Voices of CMN 2018 Mary Radford of Relevant Radio

Sept 14th Voices of CMN 2018 Karnen Saum of Viva Guadalupe and CMN

Sept 13th Voices of CMN 2018 Peter Kleponis Author Restoring Trust a Couples Guide to getting past porn

Sept 11th Voices of CMN 2018 Mary Lou Rosen Author Three Things Divorced Catholics Need to Know

Sept 10th Voices of CMN 2018 Mariana Quan CCC of America on their Animated Series Lukas Storyteller

Continue reading “Voices of CMN 2018 Alan Napleton of Viva Guadalupe and Head of the Catholic Marketing Network”

The Louisiana Legislature

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Normally, news of a $300 million surplus at the end of the State’s fiscal year would be good news, but here in Louisiana it is prompting questions and accusations amongst the political talking heads.

All summer long Louisiana residents were pummeled with news that our budget was facing a terrible deficit and that this would lead to Medicaid patients being evicted from nursing homes, convicts being released from prison, elimination of the food stamp program, and major cuts to higher education.  We spent over a million dollars to hold three special legislative sessions in which we fought over a sales tax renewal of less than a penny which would supposedly solve all these budget problems.

And now, like a rabbit out of a hat, we have a $300k surplus.

Now, it’s not that we aren’t glad to have this money to spend on worthy projects.  We are.  But by and large, many people feel played.  Manipulated.  How can you be that far off with your fiscal projections?

Governor John Bel Edwards now says that this surplus is double good news because not only do we not have a deficit, but we have a robust economy which sparked this higher than expected revenue and so… voila!  Surplus!

Some aren’t buying it; Louisiana State Senator Conrad Appel:

The way I see it there are two ways to explain this sudden revelation. One is that the governor and his staff were so inept that they could not see that revenues were improving and therefore truly believed in the fiscal cliff nonsense. That would have been bad, as we all trust him to manage a $29 billion business which is the state of Louisiana. If he doesn’t know where the money is, we have a problem.

The other possibility is that he and his people knew perfectly well that there was no fiscal cliff because we were bringing in more tax revenue than we were told. Instead, perhaps to support his well-articulated plan to grow government spending, he chose to ignore the facts and to not tell us that there was no fiscal cliff. That would not just be bad, that to me would be disingenuous and possibly even a violation of his oath of office.

I can think of no other options. We either have terrible fiscal management or we have been purposefully misled.

Even better?

Now Governor Edwards wants to give teachers a $1000 annual pay raise.  (It’s an election year, you know.)

So, it’s either a glass half full or glass half empty situation.  You have a robust economy or you have an inept government.  Or both?

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

About a week ago Erik at ¡No Pasarán! reprinted a letter from a French Resistance fighter from World War two that had been written to the Newspaper Le Monde back in 2010 about people appropriating the word “Resistance” for their personal cause long before the rise of Donald Trump:

These days, the word Resistance, with a capital R, is to be found everywhere, far more prominently than in 1940-1944! The Resistance of a teacher against new teaching methods, the Resistance against infringements on the rights of the gypsies, the Resistance against nuclear power… Today, there are certainly no more than 20 000 survivors to have effectively resisted, rifle in hand (or the equivalent: work in intelligence-gathering, etc…), prior to September 1944, and even fewer prior to the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944. So do not put a capital R on your opposition to one thing and another, leave us with our Resistance, and use that great word only if, by misfortune, the duty to Resist were again to arise for real.

It’s an important message from a person who actually resisted real life Nazi’s at real life personal risk to himself and his friends.

It’s also explains how Christine Ford and now Deborah Ramirez and their political allies justify their acts to themselves.

In the movie the Longest Day there is a scene when the underground is activated by a series of coded messages to commit acts of targeted sabotage in order to aid the invasion of Normandy.  One such scene involves the derailing of a train and in that scene a woman named Janine Boitard distracts a pair of German guards so her allies can plant Dynamite on the tracks and eventually pushing one off a bridge and falling with him into the water as the train is derailed.

In the minds of Ford, Ramirez and those who have been seeing imaginary Nazi’s everywhere the GOP are Nazis and with Donald Trump is their Führer.  For three years they’ve insisted that despite all evidence or lack thereof internment camps, the silencing of opposing views and violence against political enemies  are just on the horizon unless they stop him.

Now for Democrat operatives, who know this is nonsense, all of this is about power so they will play along with this fantasy and encourage it as long as it has the potential to reward them politically. It’s a cynical and dangerous thing but it’s no danger to them and anyways that’s what useful idiots are for.

One might think this is a fringe but I’ve talked to people who actually believe this, I’ve seen these folks in action in Boston and elsewhere. In their minds there is no difference between Kristallnacht and Donald Trump replacing the retiring Justice Kennedy a kinda conservative judge with Judge Kavanaugh, an actual conservative judge.

This is why Ford and Ramirez are doing what they’re doing. They don’t see themselves as liberal partisans making ungrounded and unsupported accusations against a man who has led an estimable life, to derail a Supreme Court Pick before what they consider a favorable election in November and who regardless of the result will be feted and rewarded by the left, both financially and professionally for the rest of their days.

They think this is D-Day, the GOP in general and Brett Kavanaugh are the Nazis and they are Janine Boitard risking life and limb so that the Reich might fall. And any slander, any deception and any act that might do this, is morally justified.

Just ask James T. Hodgkinson, or Farzad Fazeli or Eric Clanton.

I spoke to Blythe Kaufman at the end of the 2018 Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in Lancaster PA

I wish I had known about this side room, before it would have been a great place to conduct interviews

Blythe is one the best examples of an ordinary person doing extraordinary things though the Lord that there is

The site for the Children’s Rosary is here.


The 2018 Catholic Marketing Network Interview Bloglist (so far)

Sept 23rd Voices of CMN 2018 Blythe Kaufman of the Children’s Rosary

Sept 22nd Voices of CMN 2018 Kevin O’Neil Author: LEGO Catechism of the Seven Sacraments

Sept 21st Voices of CMN 2018 Julia Miller of FreshRosary.com

Sept 20th Voices of CMN 2018: Fr Leo Pucelli of Holy Cross Family Ministries

Sept 19th Voices of CMN 2018 Kathy Labosh Author: The Child with Autism Learns about Faith

Sept 18th Voices of CMN 2018 Francine Calabrese Author: The Little Brown Scapular Coloring Book

Sept 17th Voices of CMN 2018 (and the Front Seat of My Car) Susan Joy Bellavance Author of King of the Shattered Glass and Will you Come to Mass?

Sept 16th Voices of CMN 2018 Pete Socks Breadbox Media Catholic Podcasting

Sept 15th Voices of CMN 2018 Mary Radford of Relevant Radio

Sept 14th Voices of CMN 2018 Karnen Saum of Viva Guadalupe and CMN

Sept 13th Voices of CMN 2018 Peter Kleponis Author Restoring Trust a Couples Guide to getting past porn

Sept 11th Voices of CMN 2018 Mary Lou Rosen Author Three Things Divorced Catholics Need to Know

Sept 10th Voices of CMN 2018 Mariana Quan CCC of America on their Animated Series Lukas Storyteller

Continue reading “Voices of CMN 2018 Blythe Kaufman of the Children’s Rosary”

By John Ruberry

Twenty minutes into the first episode of a new Netflix series, Dark Tourist, not only did I ascertain what dark tourism is, I realized that I am a dark tourist. After all, I’m someone who has vacationed in Detroit. Twice. I’ve visited the most dangerous neighborhoods of Chicago. I’ve been to Gary, Indiana. Those jaunts are known as urban exploration.

Seeking out similar dangerous and notorious locations outside of cities, such as the radiation hot zone surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, the personality cult-driven capital of Turkmenistan, and the ghost resort town of Famagusta in Cyprus, where the Turkish army bans visitors–is what rounds out dark tourism.

Dark Tourist stars David Farrier, a nerdy journalist from New Zealand who nonetheless is, for the most part fearless, or perhaps I should say foolish. After all, Farrier, during his visit to the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan, swims in Lake Chagan, also known as “Atomic Lake,” which, as you can guess by its name, is radioactive. And he takes a bite from a fish caught there. Afterwards he at least has the good sense to down a shot of vodka.

Ferrier is a darn good reporter who asks what a cosmonaut calls “a profound question” about space travel at a pre-launch press conference.

There are dark tourism tours right under my nose. Several times a year my day job brings me to Milwaukee. But it never occurred to me to search out sites connected with cannibal serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. When Farrier was in Wisconsin’s largest city he connected with Dahmer devotees. Weird? Yes. What makes this situation very weird is that most of these fanatics are women. What do they see in this gay man who ate his murder victims? Why are bachelorette parties drawn to Dahmer?

The same episode sees Farrier in Dallas where there are Kennedy assassination tours, including one that employs a Jackie Kennedy impersonator.

How do you top these Dahmer and JFK tours? Why with a Charles Manson trip, of course.

Medellin, Colombia has a thriving Pablo Escobar dark tourism industry. As far as I know there are no Jeffrey Dahmer impersonators driving cabs in Milwaukee, but there is an Escobar reenactor cabbie who threatens to kill Farrier’s loved ones. Also in on the drug lord vacation racket is John Jairo Velásquez, whose nickname is “Popeye.” He claims to have murdered 257 people, including his girlfriend, who was recorded speaking with the DEA. Popeye has gone from killer to charismatic YouTube star.

One episode takes place in Africa. Predictably there is a voodoo sojourn in Benin. Then Farrier visits white nationalists in South Africa. They direct him to a group of Afrikaner survivalists.

There are plenty of disturbing and macabre bits, was well as some humorous ones, including Farrier embedding himself with a group of British men impersonating the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army participating in the world’s largest World War II reenactment, a dinosaur robot checks Farrier into a Japanese hotel, and Farrier is followed by his “guide” in Naypyidaw, the capital city of Myanmar.

The other Asian capital Ferrier treks to in Dark Tourist is Ashgabat in Turkmenistan. Both cities are beautiful–Ashgabat has been called the place where “Las Vegas meets North Korea”–but both are largely devoid of people. Turkmenistan is a dictatorship that has had two cult-of-personality leaders since the Soviet Union collapsed. Myanmar’s capital was founded in 2005 when that nation, now a struggling democracy, was a despotic state.

Blogger on a dark tourist trip in Detroit last year

Autocrats love buildings but not people. That’s a dark truth I learned while watching Dark Tourist.

Warning! There are unpleasant images and scenes in Dark Tourist. I dropped my plan to include the official Netflix trailer in this post because even that clip was too disturbing for a mixed audience. Dark Tourist is rated TV-MA.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The Chick-Fil-A van at the Johnny Appleseed Fair Leominster MA
Yesterday I spent my day off at the WQPH 89.3 FM Booth at Leominster’s annual Johnny Appleseed festival held each year in honor of the most famous person ever born there. I spent the day promoting my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer (available here) , my radio show Your Prayer Intentions (Heard every Saturday at Noon on WQPH) , giving away blessed items and collecting stories.

I’ll be writing about some of those great stories over the next few days, some which have already been uploaded to Youtube if you can’t wait, but there is on story in particular that jumped out at me.

The festival ran from 9 AM to 6 PM I got there before 8 to set things up. The wind was pretty nasty early in the day so one of our volunteers Chris did a hardware store run for some Duct Tape and stakes to hold the tent and sign in place. When he got back before nine he came back with shocking news…Chick-Fil-A was set up right next to the main drag!

Now if you live south of the Mason-Dixon line the idea that your local Chick-Fil-A might be at a festival is not news. But if you live in a state where there was until a few years ago only a single Chick-Fil-A in the entire state, where both radical gay protesters, and far left pols, of which we have an abundance have used the company as a punching back to prove their liberal bona fides , and where even now the nearest of the five or so statewide locations is a solid 30 minutes away…

…having them set up at a festival in the city next to yours is a pretty big deal.

It was nearly 9 AM so by now our booth was well maned so I headed straight over not only to get the story but because I didn’t have time to eat before I left the house. That’s where I met Sandra and Kevin who were setting up.

Rather than selling individual sandwiches they were selling only meals which consisted of: A standard Chick-Fil-A Sandwich, a 10 ounce can of soda, a bag of chips and a thick cookie for $10. I thought the price-point was high for the festival but I bought one anyway (I’d never had the cookies there before, it was VERY good) and returned to my booth very happy.

As promised I swung by again at 4 pm to see how the day had gone so far, it had gone VERY well

It’s worth noting that the lady who asked about when they would come to Leominster was wearing buttons for various Democrats running for state office

By 5:30 the Kevin was packing up, the last meal had been sold and the last “when are you coming to Leominster?” question had been asked.

Now you might think it’s no big deal for Chick-Fil-A to sell a couple of hundred sandwiches at an annual festival in Leomisnter MA. But to do so when the company has been vilified for a decade in the state, in a city where their state rep is a Bernie Bro (actually a Bernie sis) at a price-point higher than anyone else at the place, that’s really something.

I suspect that before too long I won’t have to go more than 5 minutes out of my way to get a soup some Chick-Fil-A and if nothing else I’m Certain that they will be a fixture at the Johnny Appleseed Festival forevermore.