Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.
– Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

I hate the term “working mom” because it implies that moms who are not employed do not “work.” My wife is a stay-at-home mom and she works plenty hard. More importantly, she works hard at things that matter. And the fact that she is not spending 40+ hours of her week focusing on not being a mom means that she is able to do things for our family that a “working mom” simply can’t. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.

On Mothers Day, I salute all mothers who put their families first, especially my wife. When our son was born, she left the business world to be a full-time mom and wife. Our two children (and I) have benefited in countless ways from this decision, which she and I made together even before we were married. She has always been there, from playing with my son when he was an infant to being there when my daughter comes home from high school and needs advice or just someone to talk to.

Our parish bulletin contained a page of quotes about Motherhood today. One that particularly stood out is:

“Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling.
It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in.
It is what God gave you time for.”

This perfectly sums up my wife’s calling to be a mother. Today let us reflect on the fact that many of the ills facing our society today could be solved if more women felt the same calling.

As I mentioned last year, I spent many years in the Boy Scouts as an adult leader while my son, who became an Eagle Scout, was going through the program, only to be disappointed by the national organization in recent years. As predicted, the Boy Scouts went from allowing homosexual boys into the program, to allowing homosexual scout leaders to admitting girls-who-claim-to-be-boys to now allowing girls to be Boy Scouts.

While the parent organization will still be knows as “Boy Scouts of America,” the name of the group of 11- to 17-year-olds that used to be called “Boy Scouts” will now be called “Scouts BSA,” further distancing them from the original point of the organization, which was to teach boys how to become men and good citizens. The BSA is claiming that they are doing this to give girls the opportunity to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout and to give families the opportunity to have their sons and daughters in the same program to make it easier to coordinate the children’s activities.

That goal, however, completely contradicts their pledge that the new Scouts BSA troops will be single-sex. As a former scoutmaster, the idea that any local sponsoring organization will be able to procure separate spaces at the same time so that boys’ and girls’ troops can meet at the same time, to say nothing or recruiting enough parents to support both groups, is ludicrous. It’s simply not going to happen.

A large part of my son’s journey to Eagle Scout was Summer Camp. Aside from the opportunity to just learn how to “be a guy” by spending a week in the woods with other boys, he earned the majority of his merit badges at camp. It is simply not possible to reconcile these two important aspects of scouting when girls are added to the mix. If girls are not given the opportunity to attend Summer Camp, it will be much more difficult for them to become Eagle Scouts. To avoid yet another discrimination lawsuit, BSA will be forced to either a) allow girls to attend Summer Camp alongside the boys or b) create parallel camps for girls. It is simply too expensive to create separate camps (also subject to a “separate-but-equal” lawsuit anyway), so the BSA must allow girls to attend Summer Camp alongside boys.

It is simply a fact that boys will behave differently when girls are present. They will spend more time trying to impress the girls and compete with the other boys for the girls’ attention than they will learning how to just be comfortable with themselves around other boys. The very nature of scouting will change.

While it sounds nice to give girls the opportunity to become Eagle Scouts, there is no way the BSA can give girls this opportunity without robbing boys of the unique things that made the Boy Scouts the Boy Scouts. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is either lying to you or doesn’t know what Scouting used to be.

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I’ve mentioned in the past my daughter’s obsession with Hamilton, the musical. We were in the car this afternoon listening to “One Last Time,” in which George Washington tells Alexander Hamilton that he is stepping down as president after two terms and asks Hamilton to help him compose his Farewell Address (which was actually published in the newspaper), I commented to my daughter that this was one of the greatest decisions ever made by a politician in our country’s history.

Until FDR, all other presidents had followed Washington’s precedent and chose not to run again after two terms. Following FDR, the 22nd amendment formalized this tradition, forcing a two-term limit on the presidency. Just think of what this arrangement, started by Washington, has saved our country.

There is no doubt, given the size of Barack Obama’s ego, that he would have run for a third term and, given the media bias – which was even worse in his favor, if you recall, than for Hillary – there is little doubt that he would have won. Which means that we would still be looking at a potential nuclear strike from North Korea, anemic economic growth, high unemployment and the continued corruption of the FBI and intelligence services that have only come to light since President Trump was elected. Thank you, General Washington!

The other key lyric in the song is when Washington says “I want to warn against partisan fighting.” It’s a pity that our politicians didn’t heed that warning. Imagine what President Trump could accomplish if he didn’t have to spend so much time and effort defending himself against made-up charges and fighting against for-no-other-reason-than-they-hate-the-fact-that-they-lost obstruction by the Democrats.

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No matter how “woke” you think you are, you are tolerating things right now that will make you cringe in 25 years. – Bill Maher

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. – inigo Montoya, “The Princess Bride”

While I disagree with some of the specific examples Bill Maher cited in the linked video above, I agree with his two main points. The first is that it is silly to judge people or actions out of the context of their time, and the second is that years from now we will be appalled at the things that are being done in our society today. I shudder to think that twenty-five years from now our society could possibly be more “woke” than it is today, mostly because I have to believe that we have reached peak silliness in the perceived intersectional injustices that are supposedly perpetrated by us normal Americans. When Starbucks can be accused of being racist simply because a store manager did not want to allow non-paying non-customers to squat in a store, thus keeping paying customers from using the space, then you know that the Left has truly crossed the Rubicon of Wokeness, and no one is safe.

Of course, the biggest problem is that real damage is being done right now, not only to our society, but to individuals who are caught up in all this intersectionality and wokeness.

When my son was going to college a few years ago, he filled out a survey and his college provided him with several other incoming freshmen to contact to see if they might be suitable roommates. He contacted one individual, but upon learning that this student was militantly homosexual, sexually active and expected his roommate to be OK with this, my son politely declined to room with this individual and selected another roommate. I wonder how long it will be until some student like my son is brought up on charges by the school for being “intolerant” of such a potential roommate – even though my son would have chosen not to room with a sexually active heterosexual as well – and perhaps being forced to live in this situation as a way to “expand his views” or some other such “woke” nonsense.

We are in the process of visiting schools with my daughter, and encountered a surprising trend among several “elite” colleges that we’ve visited. Gone are the days when dorms were segregated by male and female floors, or even wings, and the idea of male and female bathrooms has gone the way of the dodo. At several of these schools, males and females share the bathroom, including shower facilities. Apparently the showers are individual locked stalls, but that still means that my freshman daughter could step out of the shower in her robe, and be faced with a male senior who may only be wrapped in a towel shaving at the sink next to her. Now, given the #MeToo environment we are currently living in, I am fairly confident that any male in such a situation would be scrupulously careful not to give his female neighbors any pretext by which to accuse him of harassment, but that doesn’t really make the situation a good one. And if it were my son in this situation, I would tell him to shower at 2am and make sure there were no women in the bathroom to avoid just such a possibility. How is that possibly a good environment for either sex?

The only possible “solution” to this quandary at any of the non-Catholic schools we visited was the traditionally all-female dorm at one school. Of course, given the times we’re in, this has now been expanded to the all-female-and-gender-non-binary dorm. This means that my daughter could be sharing the bathroom with a man who claims to be a woman. I wonder if such a person would be nearly as scrupulous as the male in the co-ed bathroom about covering himself in the presence of my daughter. After all, if he’s a “woman” what’s the big deal? And I’m sure that my daughter – or your daughter – would be the one brought up on disciplinary charges for complaining about the situation.

It is my sincere hope that, when we look back on these times twenty-five years hence, our society is in a place where “wokeness” is the what-were-you-thinking absurdity. It has to be, because if it’s not, then that means that we’ve gone even further ‘round the bend and I can’t even imagine what that might be like.

So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den. To Daniel he said, “Your God, whom you serve so constantly, must save you.” -Dan 6:17

Just in the past few weeks, we’ve seen Harvard University defund and suspend the Harvard College Faith and Action fellowship, and we’ve seen Providence College – a supposedly Catholic College – fail to support a student who put up a bulletin board affirming Catholic teaching on marriage and the family. These are just two examples of liberals in academia focusing more on their political advocacy and less on their responsibilities to educate students and prepare them to be productive citizens. Of course, much of academia today is the product of the everybody-gets-a-trophy culture where self-esteem has been considered more important than actual accomplishment.

I have always believed that my children, who are college-aged, would be successful in the world precisely because they do not believe that they are owed anything. They have both worked extremely hard in school and other activities to achieve their successes, and have a deep appreciation for having earned the rewards that come with those successes. This in turn motivates them to continue working hard to achieve even more. I couldn’t be more proud of them.

I used to think that once they graduate and go out into the “real world” that these qualities would set them apart from their peers and make them extraordinarily valuable to potential employers. But that will only happen if employers are actually looking for the qualities that will make their employees productive and strong contributors to the success of the business. As much as I would love for my children to work at someplace like the next Google, I definitely do not want either of them to be the next James Damore. Unfortunately, unless college administrations keep expanding as they have been, there won’t be enough academia jobs for all the SJWs graduating currently, and they’ll wind up in industry (except for Women’s Studies majors, of course). That means that my kids are going to have to deal with these people even after they graduate.

Fortunately, my kids are smart enough to know how the game is played. While they are strong enough to stick to their beliefs, they are smart enough to know when they are fighting a losing battle. When you’re on a college campus, and some student is screaming at a professor about a Halloween costume, or demanding a no-whites-allowed Safe Space, it’s pretty easy to tell that a reasoned discussion is not possible and that the SJW screamer wouldn’t listen to reason anyway.

It saddens me that they have to do this. But then again, this is also the reason that I write anonymously. You play the hand that you’re dealt, and you try to get into a position where you can start to change the culture. It’s going to take some time, but I’m proud to have raised two children whom I know will continue the fight.

When I was a young engineer, I had just started at a new company and, as part of my orientation, we attended a presentation by the company CEO, who was a wonderful motivational speaker. His talk was about “Negative Target Fixation,” in which he related the story of amateur pilots who, sometime have to do an emergency landing in a wide-open field with a single tree in it, and while they’re thinking “don’t hit the tree,” wind up hitting the tree. The very act of focusing on what you don’t want to happen can prevent you from accomplishing your goal. I was taking notes throughout the talk and, to my horror, realized that I had actually written down “avoid Negative Target Fixation.” Of course, by framing it in that way, I had made “Negative Target Fixation” the metaphorical tree in my own “wide-open field.” I’ve tried to be cognizant of this irony over the years since then.

One might say that “Negative Target Fixation” is what cost Hillary the 2016 election. It’s become almost a cliché that political candidates can’t just say what they’re against, they have to say what they’re for. However, with all the talk of the midterm “Blue Wave,” the Republicans find themselves in an interesting situation, mostly because when they claim to be “for” something, no one believes them anymore.

I will freely admit that I was anti-Trump in 2016 right up until he won the nomination. Once that happened, my electoral “wide-open field” was one in which Hillary was not president, so I voted for Trum. For the midterm, the Left is completely focused on the Negative Target of allowing Trump to continue to govern. Even though there is no hard evidence that the president did anything illegal, the “impeachment” mantra persists if the Democrats take over the House, even though there is absolutely no possibility of conviction in the Senate. I keep hoping that enough voters will recognize the tree in the middle of this electoral field and that the Republicans will be able to give them a positive message for which to vote. I can’t say I’m optimistic that either side will rise to the occasion.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.            – Jn 3:16

Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised.       – Lk 24:5-6

Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.                – He 11:1

Happy Easter!

There have been three images that come to mind for me when I think about Easter. The first occurred twenty years ago, when I celebrated my first Easter as a father. I was familiar, or course, with the famous John 3:16 verse, but it wasn’t until my own son was born that I was able to understand the depth of love that would be required to make such a sacrifice. All of you who are parents can I’m sure relate to that feeling.

The second image that comes to mind is when I first watched “The Passion of the Christ,” which has become an annual Good Friday tradition for me. I remember hearing as a kid in Catholic school that Christ actually suffered enough in the garden on Holy Thursday to make up for our sins, and I had heard of how awful death by crucifixion would have been, but it was largely an intellectual argument. To see such an intense depiction of what Jesus may have actually gone through puts into perspective just how much He actually did suffer for us.

And the only way any of that makes sense is that He actually did rise on Easter Sunday. There is no way the Church could have survived its early persecution and thrived as it has for two millennia if it were based on a lie.

And I saw the “evidence of things not seen” about four years ago as my mom was dying. When I visited her shortly before the end I witnessed her receive the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Seeing the look of peace that came over her at that time, I am certain that she is in a better place and that I will see her again. I know that Jesus has led the way.

I pray that you and your family share in the joy of Easter today and throughout the year.

I want to thank Pete for giving me the opportunity to write more often, starting today. I’m looking forward to being able to comment on things closer to when they happen. And please remember to hit DaTipJar!

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.           -Stephen Hawking

In one of those interesting examples of Cosmic Timing, Stephen Hawking has died on Pi Day. I have been a Hawking fan for pretty much as long as I can remember. I’ve always been something of a nerd and grew up on science fiction, whether in books, television or the movies, and the idea of black holes, the Big Bang, and an infinite universe have always fascinated me.  I have always appreciated Dr. Hawking’s ability to explain complex cosmological concepts in ways that we all could understand. Maybe that has something to do with my current career, in which I make my living in part by explaining complex technological concepts to large audiences.

I recall reading A Brief History of Time when it came out and I’ll admit that I had to look up what year that was. I was surprised to see that it came out in 1988 because I would have sworn that I read it in high school (which was quite a few years before 1988). Perhaps if I had read it in high school I may have become a physicist – although having peaked in my math abilities with differential equations and electromagnetic waves, perhaps not a very good one. As it is, I’ll have to be content having my biggest personal contribution to the field of Physics be my son, who is a Physics major in college. 

Stephen Hawking died today, being a confirmed atheist. He has said that the Universe does not disprove the existence of God, but he believes that it proves God is unnecessary. Given that he also showed how the smallest change in the values of different physical constants, or of the speed at which the early universe expanded would have made our lives impossible, I’m not sure how he got to that conclusion. Perhaps even Stephen Hawking fell prey to the “illusion of knowledge” when it came to the true origin of the Universe.

A quick google search turns up the statistic that 70% of lottery winners go broke within just a few years. As the recent Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots got up over $1 Billion a few weeks ago, I confess I bought a couple of tickets and allowed my mind to wander to what I might do with the winnings (while assuring myself that I would definitely be in the 30%). Right around this time, the immigration discussion started involving the Visa Lottery and it got me thinking.

I recalled the Uber driver I met down in DC who came to our country by winning the Visa Lottery. This fellow was industrious, friendly, spoke English very well and was going to college as well as driving. My first instinct on meeting him, was that the Visa Lottery was a great program if it brought over folks like him to the US. But actually, the program would only serve the interests of the US if everyone who came through the Visa Lottery were as hard working as this guy. Sadly, that is not the case, nor is it even possible when visas are allotted by chance. Unfortunately, this is one lottery where the “house” loses.

I happen to agree with Bobby Jindal who said in the 2016 campaign that “Immigration without assimilation is invasion.” The biggest difference I’ve noticed in immigration between now and earlier generations is that back then, immigrants came to this country to be Americans. Sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. On Ellis Island, within sight of the Statue of Liberty (the same one that Chuck Shumer and Nancy Pelosi think is crying because Donald Trump is president), immigrants who risked more than just money and time to come here from overseas were often denied entry due to disease or other criteria which basically boiled down to whether they would benefit the US or would be a burden on our society. Why is that now a bad thing? And how could allowing such a burden to then bring over his relatives – and their relatives – who will simply be a larger burden, be a good idea?

Yes, we are a nation of immigrants. But we’re a nation of Americans too. Our nation was founded on the ideas of equality, God-given rights and limited government. Our founding documents were written in English. Yes, there’s plenty of room for diversity of all kinds, including opinion, in our society, but is it too much to ask that immigrants who want to come here be equally committed to our founding principles and contribute to the General Welfare? I’m sure that a rational immigration system would allow folks like that Uber driver to be at the head of the line and I’d be right there to welcome him to his new home.

“Age is a state of mind.” –Hermann Hesse

“Age isn’t how old you are but how old you feel.”  – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One of my favorite subjects in high school was geometry. I especially enjoyed doing geometric proofs where, using a set of rules, or theorems, we would start with a set of agreed-upon facts about a problem (“given that angle A-B-C is a right angle”) and apply proven theorems to show how the facts lead to a specified conclusion (“prove that line segment BC bisects line segment DF”). One aspect of these exercises that appealed to my logical (and slightly OCD) brain was how the theorems themselves were built up from other theorems. Once we proved a hypothesis, it became a theorem that we could use to prove additional problems. But we had to start from somewhere. We started with “axioms” which were statements that were taken to be true and did not require proof (“two parallel lines never intersect” for example). One way we tested hypotheses in geometry was to see if they led to a contradiction of another previously-proven theorem or axiom. If a contradiction could be shown, then the hypothesis was proven false. In other words, starting from common principles, we could logically apply a set of rules to establish the accuracy or truth of a statement about a given problem. One would think that such an approach ought to work in society as a whole.

The science of genetics tells us that a person born with XY chromosomes is a male and one born with XX chromosomes is a female. This is an objective fact. According to dictionary.com, a man is “an adult male person, as distinguished from a boy or a woman.” However, liberals would have us believe that an objectively-defined man could – in fact, must – be considered a woman if he so chooses. So liberals claim that a person’s beliefs about his or her own existence override objective reality. Let’s consider this a hypothesis that we can test using our logical method from high school geometry and see how well it holds up.

There is no logical reason why this ability for a person to change an objective fact about himself or herself based simply on believing it to be so should be limited to sex. If I can make myself a woman simply by believing myself to be one, I should also be able to make myself a different age. Therefore, from now on I am declaring myself to be 68 years old which, according to the Left, now makes me eligible to collect Social Security (current eligible age: 67), Medicare (65) and to withdraw penalty-free from my 401(k) account (59½). I will be notifying the ACLU of this fact and expect them to represent me pro bono as I attempt to collect my money.

Q.E.D.