jonathan-strange-and-mr-norrellBy John Ruberry

It’s time to take a break from politics.

Many times while surfing on Netflix I came across a recommendation to watch the seven-part 2015 BBC One miniseries, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which is described as such: “In 1806 ambitious magician Norrell leads a revival of practical magic in England and ignites a fierce rivalry with bold young conjurer Strange.” If that sounds like a dopey show, well, that’s what I thought too. But I yielded to the luring and tuned in. I’m grateful that I did.

Magic in the alternative universe of Strange and Norrell is not smoke-and-mirrors and rabbits being pulled from hats, it’s a neglected scientific discipline that for unexplained reasons was abandoned in England in the early 16th century. But Gilbert Norrell (Eddie Marsan), a magician from York, becomes a national sensation when he brings to life the statues of  York Minster Cathedral and, in his only use of dark magic, brings back from death the future wife of a prominent member of parliament, Lady Pole (Alice Englert).

But just as in another alternative universe where humans can sell their soul to the devil, the dark side, in this case a mysterious being known as the Gentleman (Marc Warren), sabotages the transaction and establishes Norrell’s second rivalry.

Norrell offers his services to fight the French and their allies in the Napoleonic Wars, although only Jonathan Strange (Bertie Carvel) directly utilizes magic at the side of the Duke of Wellington (Ronan Vibert), who is initially skeptical of him. Included in the broad historical sweep of Strange and Norrell is the blind and mad King George III, and although not by name, the anti-industrial Luddites.

The rest of the cast is wonderful, particularly Ariyon Bakare as a mysterious butler and Vincent Franklin as the duplicitous promoter of Norrell and Strange. The special effects, with the exception of the ravens in the last two installments, are first rate.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a welcome diversion from the usual, and it’s a particularly good series for binge-watching.

Besides Netflix, the mini-series is available on many on-demand systems and on DVD.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

John ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

By John Ruberry

The leftist group MoveOn got its start as Bill Clinton was being impeached. Their initial message was along the lines of, Bubba has done a great job running the country, his affair with Monica Lewinsky was inappropriate, and now it’s time for Americans to, well, move on.

Now if only the cheerleaders in the media for the Democratic Party could do the same.

There’s a book’s worth of material out there for this post, but I’ll zoom in on just a few today. Dahleen Glanton, an African American Chicago Tribune columnist, puts the blame on the Democrats failure to keep the White House on where she feels it belongs. Yes, the headline gives the ending away, “White women, own up to it: You’re the reason Hillary Clinton lost.” Yet the first sentence of that column betrays how foolish she is, “I don’t understand women.” Her dazzling display of ignorance continues for another two dozen paragraphs.

There must be vile fumes from the Chicago River poisoning the minds of Chicago newspaper columnists, as ignorance begets insanity. I had to read Neil Steinberg’s Nazi-drenched column about Donald Trump and his advisor Steven Bannon, who, by the way, is not an anti-Semite, three times before I gave up trying to make sense of it. Well, almost.  When I am confronted with Nazis and insanity I do one thing and that is listen to avante-garde rockers the Residents’ masterpiece, “The Third Reich and Roll,” only this time I did so while trying to block out of my memory all of my knowledge of the 1960s garage pop classics that are satirized in this work, as a possible gateway into Steinberg’s rambling mess. That didn’t work either. But hey, I tried.

At the end of his column he all but claims that it will be followers of a religion who have been scapegoated for centuries who will be blamed if Trump’s economy doesn’t take off as he promises it will.

Oh, do newspaper columnists have editors anymore?

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, who was exposed as a colluder with the Democratic National Committee by WikiLeaks, is calling the incoming Trump administration “the fake news presidency.” Yet two months ago Milbank was covering for Clinton’s “deplorables” gaffe by claiming that “she might have low-balled the number.”


Perhaps what these mainstream media hacks really need is a good cry, which is something the Residents have done as they confide in “Hitler Was a Vegetarian.”

Yes, it’s your party, I know it’s your party
And, you know that you can cry, and, it’s cool
But you have to remember that I too cried my 96 tears
And… it’s just something we all have to go through some time or another.

Get to it.

And then move on.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Unless somebody is actually paying me, I don’t watch televised debates. I visit the candidates’ websites, compare how they stand on the issues, decide on my own, and spare myself the aggravation of wasting hours of my life watching televised debates.

Yes, you can take for granted that the so-called moderators, products of liberal schools of journalism-in-name-only, will favor the Dems. The cable and TV networks are not as bare-faced as Univision’s activists, but sometimes they come close.

And don’t get me started on the unasked questions, especially the unasked question so far,

“You say you are ‘personally opposed’ to abortion, can you explain your reason for personally oppose abortion?”

So last night I watched instead Luke Cage, starring the fine-looking, fine-sounding Mike Colter. I knew nothing about the series, but it looked interesting when it came up on Netflix, so I watched.

Reading about the debate this morning, I’m glad I did, considering that Tim Kaine reportedly interrupted Mike Pence over seventy times. The video posted with that article shows Kaine, lifted eyebrow, finger pointed, yammering on about whatever came to mind, which may or may not be related to what Pence was saying, with little, if any interaction from the moderator.

If this sounds like an exaggeration, look at a brief section of the transcript, where Hillary’s servers, the Clinton Foundation, The Apprentice, Osama Bin Laden, Iran and Iraq swirled around in an alphabet soup,

PENCE: But there’s a — there’s a reason why people question the trustworthiness of Hillary Clinton. And that’s because they’re paying attention. I mean, the reality is, when she was secretary of state, Senator, come on. She had a Clinton Foundation accepting contributions from foreign governments.

KAINE: You are Donald Trump’s apprentice. Let me talk about this…


PENCE: Senator, I think I’m still on my time.

KAINE: Well, I think — isn’t this a discussion?

QUIJANO: This is our open discussion.

KAINE: Yeah, let’s talk about the state of…


PENCE: Well, let me interrupt — let me interrupt you and finish my sentence, if I can.

KAINE: Finish your sentence.

PENCE: The Clinton Foundation accepted foreign contributions from foreign governments and foreign donors while she was secretary of state.

KAINE: OK, now I can weigh in. Now…

PENCE: She had a private server…

KAINE: Now, I get to weigh in. Now, let me just say this…

PENCE: … that was discovered…


QUIJANO: … Senator, you have an opportunity to respond.

PENCE: … keep that pay to play process out of the reach of the public.

KAINE: Governor Pence — Governor Pence doesn’t think the world’s going so well and he, you know, is going to say it’s everybody’s fault.

PENCE: Do you?

KAINE: Let me tell you this. When Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, Governor Pence, did you know that Osama bin Laden was alive?


KAINE: Do you know that we had 175,000 troops deployed in the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you know that Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon and Russia was expanding its stockpile?

Under Secretary Clinton’s leadership, she was part of the national team, public safety team that went after and revived the dormant hunt against bin Laden and wiped him off the face of the Earth. She worked to deal with the Russians to reduce their chemical weapons stockpile. She worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.

PENCE: Eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program?

KAINE: Absolutely, without firing a shot. And instead of 175,000 American troops deployed overseas, we now have 15,000.

PENCE: Right and…

KAINE: These are very, very good things.

PENCE: And Iraq has been overrun by ISIS, because Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate…

KAINE: Well, if you want to put more American troops in Iraq, you can propose that.

PENCE: Hillary Clinton — Hillary Clinton — Hillary Clinton failed to renegotiate a status of forces agreement…

KAINE: No, that is incorrect. That’s incorrect.

PENCE: And so we removed — we removed all of our…

QUIJANO: Gentlemen, we’ll get to…


PENCE: … troops from Iraq, and ISIS was able to be conjured up in that vacuum.

KAINE: But I’d like to correct…

PENCE: … and overrun vast areas of Iraq.

Where was the moderator? Who knows? Fifty more minutes of that followed.

So you can understand why I prefer to watch the more handsome and entertaining Mr. Colter, whose character is named after Luke 4:18. Here’s the Gospel text in context,

14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[f]

The greater lesson, for both Luke Cage and for debate viewers alike, remains, from Psalm 146:3-5 (emphasis added),

3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:

No televised debate will change that.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

p12079367_b_v9_acBy John Ruberry

Without the phenomenal box office success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, HBO’s Game of Thrones series may not have ever launched. And without GoT’s ongoing critical and audience raves, The Last Kingdom would almost certainly never have been giving the green light by the BBC.

I just finished binge-watching the first season of The Last Kingdom, which like Game of Thrones is a television version of a series of books, in this case Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories. I might not have ever heard of the BBC series had not the ninth season of the Doctor Who reboot had been bombarded with Last Kingdom trailers. I guess that’s the point of promos.

Season two of The Last Kingdom is currently in production.

So how is it? Well, in a few words, LK is pretty good. After all, I kept watching, didn’t I?

Here’s how the series is set up–with spoilers for the most part that cover only the first half of the first episode:

The action begins in the late ninth century as Danish invaders–the word “vikings” is never used–have transformed themselves from coastal raiders into a disciplined army who have conquered each English kingdom save Wessex. The lead character is Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Alexander Dreymon), the son of a Northumberland noblemen who as a child witnesses his father fall in a battle against the invaders. After he humorously attacks a Dane, Uhtred is taken as a slave. Losing his Christian faith, Uhtred the Godless, much in the matter of white characters captured by Indians in Old West movies, seems unsure of his loyalties, but he’s determined to reclaim his family castle from his duplicitous uncle.

An adult Uhtred, after his Danish family is killed by other Danes, makes his way to Wessex where he pledges loyalty to King Alfred and joins the Saxon cause.

Attractive in a Jon Snow sort of way, Uhtred doesn’t have a vow of chastity to hamper his romantic pursuits.

Religion greatly drives the plot, The priest who baptizes the young Uhtred–twice–has also made his way to Wessex, where he serves as a counselor to Alfred. Refreshingly, the Christians in The Last Kingdom are pious, but not portrayed as foolishly pious. The only religious character treated with disdain is a Danish sorcerer.

Alfred (David Dawson), the devout king, doesn’t let his sickliness damper his resolve to save his realm and drive the Danes out of England.

Besides Alfred, other historical characters who appear in The Last Kingdom are the Danish chieftains Ubba and Guthrum, Saxons Odda the Elder, King Edmund of East Anglia, Alfred’s nephew Aethelwold, and Welsh monk Asser, the biographer of the Wessex ruler. A glaring oversight is the omission of Ivor the Boneless, the Dane whose name still perplexes historians. Ivor was the half-brother of Ubba.

The show plays homage to the legend that Alfred, asked by a woman to keep an eye on loaves of bread being baked, allows them to burn as his mind wanders to pressing matters of kingship.

The cinematography is superb although the filming of the series in Hungary, rather than England, might be the catalyst of one of LK’s noticeable shortcomings, cheap-looking wardrobes and crowns that appear to be plastic. If the series was shot in Britain, or even Northern Ireland where some of Game of Thrones is filmed, I’m sure the costume department of The Last Kingdom could have scrounged up more convincing crowns some better period clothes from a regional Shakespeare company.

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

If you are looking for one more Game of Thrones comparison, then I won’t let you down. While gratuitous nudity is absent from The Last Kingdom, the brief glimpses of bare flesh amid the armor and swords appear forced as if someone is screaming at the directors, “We need naked bums for better ratings!”

I’ll be back for season two, hoping for more. (More meaning better shows, not bare buttocks.) After all, the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood didn’t hit its stride until season two and it didn’t achieve consistent greatness until The Children of Earth in season three.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit

My teenage daughter is obsessed with Hamilton, the musical that has taken Broadway by storm. Not being a fan of rap music, I was not particularly interested in listening to the soundtrack, but seeing my daughter’s reaction to it made me more than a little curious. We recently had occasion to spend quite a bit of commuting time in the car together and, since she had the music on her phone, the show’s soundtrack became the soundtrack of our drives. It’s easy to see why the show has become so popular, and a show that can save Alexander Hamilton’s place on the $10 bill and increase the appreciation people have for our Founding Fathers can’t be a bad thing, no matter how much rap it contains (and fortunately there is plenty of other styles of music that I found quite compelling). I was equally impressed with my daughter’s ability to sing along with the cast (sometimes mixing multiple parts, which was amazing) with her inserted commentary about the political and military background of the events depicted, even pointing out the historical inaccuracies in the script! Clearly she’s been learning more than just the lyrics. But there was one lesson in particular I wanted her to learn from the show, and it is one that Hamilton and his wife, Eliza, learned the hard way. CAUTION: Mild Spoilers ahead.

When my wife and I were engaged, we went through a multi-week Marriage Preparation program with our pastor, whom I’ll call “Father N.” One part of the program called for us each to fill out a questionnaire to determine if we had similar attitudes about different aspecs of marriage, from Faith to finances, family and even fidelity. One question in particular stood out: “Are there any circumstances under which you might choose to get a divorce?”

My bride and I had actually spoken about this in advance and both made it clear that infidelity would be a dealbreaker, so we both answered “yes” to the question. When evaluating our results, Father N pointed to that as the only problem with our answers. He said that in answering “yes” to that question, we were giving ourselves an “out,” which contradicts the Catholic view of marriage. Even though we had only one serious condition in mind, the idea that there could be one thing that would end our marriage could lead us to consider other lesser offenses to somehow rise to that level. In giving ourselves an out, we would have been entering our marriage without understanding what we were really doing. Unfortunately, too many couples in our society today lack that understanding and think that it’s OK to abandon their marriage for far more trivial reasons.

That was not true in Hamilton’s time, and the musical shows us this. Whether through faith or through fear of scandal, even when Hamilton’s infidelity comes to light, he and Eliza stay married, as difficult as that is. In “Burn,” Eliza makes her feelings clear:

You forfeit all rights to my heart
You forfeit the place in our bed
You sleep in your office instead

Recognizing that he is at fault, Hamilton refuses to give up. In “It’s Quiet Uptown,” he rekindles his Faith and does his best to win Eliza’s heart again:

I take the children to church on Sunday
A sign of the cross at the door
And I pray
That never used to happen before

It is his steadfastness, especially in facing the death of their son Philip, that they eventually experience “a grace too powerful to name” and she eventually forgives him:

Alexander by Eliza’s side
She takes his hand

After his untimely death, Eliza rededicates her life to continuing his legacy as best she can:

The Lord, in his kindness
He gives me what you always wanted
He gives me more / Time

She raises money for the Washington Monument, speaks out against slavery and, most telling, establishes the first private orphanage in New York City and helps raise hundreds of children, saying “In their eyes, I see you, Alexander.” Finally, she expresses her belief that she will see him again, in time.

Maybe in addition to learning about our nation’s founding, fans of Hamilton will also learn the true spirit of commitment, love and forgiveness inherent in marriage. Wouldn’t that be something?

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Trump, the Church and Immigration
The “Final Five” Show Us How It’s Done
The Left is Wrong About Rights
Ends, Means and Democrats
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Union station WAY after dark
Day one in denver (I don’t count yesterday when we got Union Station at 10:30 & to the Hotel at just before 11 PM Denver time) started with a trip to the Basilica for AM mass as DaWife snoozed. The Hotel operates a shuttle for free in a 3 mile radius so that really came in handy. If I had that last time I wouldn’t have ended up in the clash between the occupods & the police.

I took a lot of pictures after mass.

I’m still got a few folks on my indulgence list to take care of over the next few days.

After the shuttle took me back and the wife and I had breakfast Stop two was a walk to Coors field:

assorted denver 2 030

where I filmed this clip before dabattery died

The park was beautiful the seats spacious compared to fenway and incredibly comfortable. I loved that they have a “rockpile” bench seating was $1 for kids under 12 or elders over 55 ($4 otherwise) so even the poorest and particularly young kids can always see a game in person and I really loved the deal where they had a designated drive setup where if you pledged not to buy beer after the 4th inning you got a free soda (saving dawife & I 10 bucks on a day when it was 91 during the game and the fans made a beeline for areas in the shade.) but it was very odd to see a stadium with so many empty seats.

Alas for Colorado while they jumped into an early lead against the rangers their bull pen cracked at a critical moment turning a 5-1 lead after 5 into a 7-5 loss despite putting two on in the ninth. They had an interesting program where

We then stopped at the 1 up bar for a quick bite, the food was meh, but the arcade and pinball selection was excellent and if you are a fan of pintastic this location near coors field is a must visit.

The wife and I walked the 16th street mall a bit stopping at Tattered Covers book store for a souvenir for our oldest and to avoid a thunder storm before heading back to the hotel. On the way we were stopped by an earnest young girl asking us to sign a postcard for the gov on Utah asking him to oppose exploiting resources on federal land. The young lady must have approached me due to the fedora, grey sideburns & doctor who scarf and must have been startled to hear me tell her: “Sorry I support that kind of thing.”

The hotel has a fridge in the room so we hit a local supermarket via the hotel shuttle service before heading back to crash.

Now with all batteries charged the plan is to do a few things with the wife in the AM then start interviews with people coming for the school choice event as they arrive in the afternoon both for the site and the podcast.

I suspect with a lot of bloggers here the upload speeds (already kinda meh) are not going to improve so don’t be surprised if a lot of this stuff goes up back in MA but I’ll do what I can.

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Jon Sable: My finders fee is 30%

Client: That’s pretty steep!

Jon Sable: Depends on how you look at it. I’ve always figured that 70% of something is worth more that 100% of nothing.

John Sable, Freelance #11 Maggie the Cat 1984

Cleveland Browns running back Isiah Crowell has a history of bad decision making dating back to his Georgia Bulldog days:

Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell, who was in and out of Bulldogs coach Mark Richt’s doghouse as a freshman, was dismissed from the team Friday after being arrested on weapons charges by Athens-Clarke County Police overnight.

Crowell, from Columbus, Ga., was arrested and charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor, according to the Athens-Clarke County Jail booking report.

Crowell, 19, was charged with a felony count of possessing a weapon in a school zone, a felony count of altered identification mark and a misdemeanor count of possession/carrying a concealed weapon.

So there was not a lot of surprise when he made another bad decision to send out a cartoon showing a police officer getting his throat slit by a masked man on social media

Crowell pulled the cartoon but his initial apology went over flat, but old friend Ed Morrissey is giving him credit for attempting to do better the second time around

Give Crowell some credit, too. He’s parting with nearly a month’s salary (when spread out over the year), and the money goes to help those who truly need some community support. On top of that, he’s offering a personal and full apology, not some I’m sorry everyone misunderstood my genius non-apology. “I don’t want to be part of the problem,” Crowell said in the video above, “I want to be part of the solution.” Making amends is the first step. Maintaining that example for his fans is the next step. He really is putting his money where his mouth is, and maybe that will be a valuable life lesson to Crowell and others to think before engaging in public debates.

Now as a good Catholic I’m certainly a big fan of constriction and I very much hope that Mr. Crowell is sincere in his regret but I think the real lesson from this story is that if there was one subject that Mr. Crowell aced during his time at first Georgia then Alabama State it’s economics.

You see Mr. Crowell is slated to earn $592,000 this season with the Cleveland Browns and if the Browns decided that he is too radioactive to keep then that 592K will be in jeopardy.  And if the NFL decides the same then Mr. Crowell might find himself unemployable as a football player and lucky to find a $15 hr job even if the minimum wage is raised that high.

So while some might say that $37,000 is a high price to pay for a single cartoon, I submit and suggest that fully tax deductible $37K is a wise investment in remaining in the top 10% of American incomes for at least the next several years.

That’s the thing about math, it doesn’t care what you believe or what you think, it’s just relentlessly true.

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California born-and-raised Maria Elena Salinas, an anchor for Spanish language network Univision, was invited to give a commencement speech at California State University, Fullerton. She spoke to the College of Communications after the ceremony, which did not go well: Univision’s María Elena Salinas Gets Booed at Cal State Fullerton Grad Speech

Salinas’ speech was well-received until it became a little too Latino-centric for some and blatantly anti-Trump. The Univision broadcaster began specifically congratulating Latino journalism graduates for what seemed like a large chunk of her speech. She then began speaking in Spanish and asked the crowd to repeat a few inspirational words after her, in Spanish. This left non-journalism grads and non-Latinos/non-Spanish speakers feeling excluded. Parents in the audience and even students in the ceremony began demanding Salinas switch to a more inclusive tone by shouting phrases such as, “What about us?!”

I am not surprised that Salinas would do that. After all, Univision, the raunchy soap opera and game show outlet, uses its daily news programs for full open-borders advocacy, starting with its leading “newsman”, Jorge Ramos, the guy who made $75million (US dollars, not pesos) in combined earnings in 2014 alone, whose daughter works for Hillary’s campaign, and is as white as the next Swede.

Of course, Salinas

began offering advice to journalism students to use the tools of media to rebut political figures such as Donald Trump

She was booed, and blamed racism for those who rejected her comments – not missing of course, the That’s not the “America” we want cliché:

I am not getting paid millions of US dollars by Univision to be an open-borders advocate, therefore I am free to tell you the truth: There’s no such thing as a “Hispanic” race.

Repeat: There’s no such thing as a “Hispanic” race.

I have been saying it for years, and will say it again:

There are two dozen Spanish-speaking countries in the Americas. Each one of those countries is as unique as countries can be. Their histories are different, their customs, foods, music, traditions, and even their slang, are different. Every “Hispanic” country has peoples of every ethnic origin, race, religion, economic status, family size, educational background, physical size and build, level of work skills, and intellectual and mental ability. You will find this to be the case even more dramatically in all cities with large ports, and in resort areas. A lot of people from other countries who come for trade and pleasure return to settle permanently in those areas.

You want diversity? Let’s look at real diversity:

There are Peruvians of Japanese ancestry (and one of them became president of Peru – his daughter is now the frontrunner for the presidency). There are Chinese Cubans. There are English Puerto Ricans (my mother’s high school teacher’s family, for instance) – and Puerto Rico has a significant illegal alien problem from people from adjacent islands. There are German Venezuelans. There are Irish Argentinians. The Africans that were brought to Latin America from the slave trade are not all from the same areas of Africa and did not follow the same traditions. Even among the native peoples, the Peruvian Quechua are not the Chilean Mapuche who are not the Mayans of Apocalypto.

Within countries there are significant differences. For example: Among the millions of legal and illegal immigrants to the USA, there are hundreds of native associations, particularly in the South West. Do a google search for asociacion Oaxaca and you’ll find 966,000 results. The Mexicans who come from Oaxaca will tell you that they are not the Mexicans from the capital (Distrito Federal), and that they enjoy getting together with their friends from their corner of the old country, hence, the asociaciones Oaxaqueñas.

Salinas’s premise that she needed to especially address the Hispanic/Latino graduates is condescending and insulting. She assumes that it is extraordinary that they could graduate, that all those students are by definition oppressed and underprivileged, and can not get out of an oppressed, underprivileged situation on their own. Additionally, speaking in Spanish in that setting excludes anyone in the audience who does not – how would she like it if she was in the audience and the speaker carried on in Mandarin? After all, more than twice as many people in the world speak Mandarin than Spanish.

I won’t expand on her political advocacy, other than point out that she is not a journalist, she’s an advocate. An advocate who was not invited to give a political speech.

As an American born and raised in Puerto Rico, native speaker of both English and Spanish (with a passable reading knowledge of French and Portuguese), who attended the University of Puerto Rico and graduated from the University of Georgia and later Fairleigh Dickinson University, let me tell you about the “America” I want: an America (no quotes) where every child is expected to graduate through his/her own work from academically rigorous schools that foster American values and a work ethic, and where hard work, not Hispandering, is the key to success.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

I’m sure that Beyonce presumed that the little kerfuffle concerning police would eventually blow over given time.

As Jazz Shaw reports, she presumed wrong:

In the case of one upcoming Beyonce’ concert however, they may be short on cops because the local Pittsburgh police don’t want to be involved with her event. (Liberty Unyielding)

City police officers who believe Beyoncé is anti-police are planning to boycott the singer’s May 31 concert at Heinz Field, and the union said it will file a labor complaint if the city forces them to work the secondary employment.

One should remember that duties like this are usually good paying gigs for police with a minimum of danger so one would normally expect them to jump at it, but their honor trumps the $.

Now major celebs are routinely leftists and the left has become reliably anti-police additionally I’m sure Beyonce can buy all the security she wants but I’m going to make a prediction here.

Sooner or later some nut or crazed fan is going to make it to a celeb at once of these events that police have passed on and when that happens watch how fast these people rush to embrace officers.

Count on it.

Come to Draft Town
Draft Town billbard, Chicago

By John Ruberry

Deadly shootings in Chicago are up 20 percent this year over 2015. Last year Rahm Emanuel and the exclusively-Democratic City Council stuck it to Chicagoans by enacting the city’s biggest property tax in history to pay for municipal worker pensions–with probably more hikes to come. Chicago’s population decline continues, the onetime Second City is now third, with Houston within reach to pass it.

How does Rahm Emanuel respond?

With Roman style bread and circuses.

Two weeks ago the NFL draft was held in downtown Chicago for the second straight year–accompanied by an elaborate Draft Town festival.

And like the bounty hunters who doggedly pursued Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, Rahm desperately wants to plop the proposed George Lucas museum on Chicago’s Lakefront despite opposition from preservation groups and a federal judge. Chicago was Lucas’ second choice for his temple, plans for a San Francisco museum fell through two years ago. The filmmaker’s ties to Chicago are at best tenuous. He married his second wife, a Chicago native, on the lakefront a few miles south of the proposed museum site. Oh, Harrison Ford, who played Solo, was born in Chicago and he grew up in suburban Morton Grove, where your humble blogger lives.

Lake Michigan in Chicago
Lake Michigan in Chicago

Meanwhile the carnage in Chicago continues. Last night a man eating dinner was shot to death while eating dinner when someone fired into his Southwest Side home. Early this morning a passenger in a car was murdered when he was shot on Lake Shore Drive. Another man was shot on the same road, albeit not fatally, two days earlier.

Oh, I almost forgot. Chicago anemic school system, which kind-of-sort-of educates children, is essentially insolvent.

Meanwhile Mayor Emanuel cries out with a Hail Mary pass, “Help us Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit

I saw the Superman / Batman movie after Good Friday Services and was thinking….

Thought #1 Lex Luthor = the Joker

For some reason the decision was made to make Luthor into the Joker as opposed to himself, Jessie Eisenberg plays the Luthor/Joker well but whoever that was, it wasn’t Lex Luthor

Thought #2 Ben Affleck is a pretty good Batman

There have been a lot of internet jokes about the concept of Ben Affleck as Batman, much of it due to his reputation but in the end Affleck does an excellent job. I found him a completely believable Batman and I suspect fans will be as shocked as they were when Michael Keaton owned the role as well. I look forward to seeing him in the role again.

Thought #3 Amy Adams OWNS Lois Lane

In man of steel Amy Adams excelled and she does the same here. She owns every scene she is in, although in fairness it was not hard for her to own the bathtub scene. Her Lois Laine is THE Lois Lane and it is a crime that in 20 years another actress will play the part.

Thought #4 “I thought she was with you” (minor spoiler)

That is the line that Superman and Batman exchange in when Wonder Woman shows up for the big final battle and in one sense it accurately represents the question: “What purpose does she serve?” Don’t get me wrong, her part was well acted and I like the way the character was written but if she was removed entirely from the movie I don’t think anyone would notice.

Thought #5 Damn right they deserve thanks

I stayed for the end credits expecting an easter egg (there was none) but noticed that they gave thank yous to a bunch of DC writers and artists from the past from Gardner Fox to Jim Aparo as well they should as anyone who was a comic guy in the 80’s can clearly see the plot, large chunks of the script and dialogue are basically merging a series of comic stories from the 80’s. Younger viewers might not have seen it but it’s painfully obvious if you’re my age.

by baldilocks

One of the many reasons that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was my favorite of the several Trek incarnations was its pilot episode “Emissary.” In it, we first meet Commander Benjamin Sisko, a widower, the father of a young son, Jake, and previously, the first officer of the USS Saratoga which was destroyed in Trek’s infamous Battle of Wolf 359. His wife, Jennifer, has been dead for three years—killed at Wolf 359–and he has languished at a desk job since that time. In the beginning of the series, he takes command of Space Station Deep Space Nine without much enthusiasm, and contemplates retiring from Starfleet when his task at the station is finished.

Fast forward to the pivotal scene of the pilot: here is Sisko as he teaches the prophets—a group of non-linear alien beings who have abducted him and who use the appearance of person and scenarios which are familiar to him—about linear existence using his favorite game as a metaphor.

[On a baseball field]

Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko
Avery Brooks as Benjamin Sisko

BATSMAN-Alien: Aggressive. Adversarial.
SISKO: Competition. For fun. It’s a game that Jake and I play on the holodeck. It’s called baseball.
JAKE-Alien: Baseball? What is this?
SISKO: I was afraid you’d ask that. I throw this ball to you and this other player stands between us with a bat, a stick, and he, and he tries to hit the ball in between these two white lines. No. The rules aren’t important. What’s important is, it’s linear. Every time I throw this ball, a hundred different things can happen in a game. He might swing and miss, he might hit it. The point is, you never know. You try to anticipate, set a strategy for all the possibilities as best you can, but in the end it comes down to throwing one pitch after another and seeing what happens. With each new consequence, the game begins to take shape.
BATSMAN-Alien: And you have no idea what that shape is until it is completed.
SISKO: That’s right. In fact, the game wouldn’t be worth playing if we knew what was going to happen.
JAKE-Alien: You value your ignorance of what is to come?
SISKO: That may be the most important thing to understand about humans. It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives, day by day, and we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here. Not to conquer you either with weapons or with ideas, but to co-exist and learn.

[Scene switches to the doomed USS Saratoga in Sisko’s quarters as he leans over Jennifer’s dead body.]

TACTICAL-Alien: If all you say is true, why do you exist here?

The prophets force Sisko to face the fact that, by living in the grief and anger produced by Jennifer’s death, he has stopped trying to live up to his own standard.

This is what we all do at various points in our lives. And our task in life isn’t to beat ourselves up for being imperfect in what we say we believe—for failing–but to get back up off of the floor and keep pushing and pressing on, using what we have left. Sisko still had his son and discovers by the end of the pilot–and the end of the series–that he has much more than he was able to imagine at the point where we first meet him. This was good TV.

And it demonstrates something essential about the relationship between inner-core beliefs/principles and the fallen nature of humanity: temporarily falling away from the former doesn’t make them any less true or correct…and doesn’t make them any less yours. And the great part about principles which are solid and true is that returning to them will help you dig yourself out of the ditch into which life has deposited you.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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It was going on eleven or so Republican debates that I hadn’t watched, so I tuned in last night at 9pm Eastern. The immoderate moderators’ questions were: “Mr. Trump, what do you think of yourself?”, to which he answered “I have a big penis“;

“Mr. Rubio, what do you think of that?” Rubio: “Donald’s a braggart”;

“Mr. Cruz, how do you think you can beat Trump if you don’t let him drag you in the mud?” Cruz: “Because I stand on the issues (and explains)”

“Mr. Trump, but enough of that, let’s talk about you some more. Trump: “Brag, brag . . .”

It was 9:08pm. Enough. More than enough.

I clicked the TV app to Netflix, and came across a French murder-mystery, Counter-investigation (Contre-enquête, 2007), starring Jean Dujardin, the tap-dancing guy from The Artist, who also was in The Monuments Men.

Well, if Dujardin is in it, it may be worth watching.

It is.

Dujardin plays Richard Malinowski, a police detective married to an anesthesiologist. He’s an upright guy, happily married, with a beautiful nine-year old girl, Emilie. The movie opens with Richard and Emilie having breakfast in their very lovely home one happy morning while mom works her shift at the hospital.

The phone rings, Richard answers the phone call, and leaves his little girl home. That was the last time he sees her alive.

Counter-inquiry grabs you from the start. It is a gripping murder mystery, the story is compelling, the characters are believable, and Dujardin’s performance breaks your heart.

While the story can lend itself to violence portrayals on film, the audience is spared, which in turn makes the emotional impact more powerful. You are left to imagine the worst: The scene where Richard re-lives the Saturday morning encapsulates his pain, guilt and despair in a faction of a minute, and stays in your mind.

I won’t give away the plot. This is an excellent film that deserves a larger audience.

In French, with subtitles that are well worth the effort.

Not rated yet on Rotten Tomatoes, but I give it a 5.



One of the great action movies of the 50’s was the 1958’s The Vikings staring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. If you like action, adventure and a touch of comedy, you’ll want to watch it.

At a key point of the picture viking prince Einar (Kirk Douglas) prays to Odin the Viking God. The princess (Leigh) he has fallen in love with has been stolen away from him by the slave Eric (Curtis) who is responsible for the loss of his eye and in the chase his father (Ernest Borgnine) was drowned. He prays for a sign to convince his reluctant warriors to pursue them to England.

He is rewarded with by the sudden appearance of Eric who tells him their mutual enemy King Aella is holding the princess Morgana and offers to lead him there so they can attack his castle.

Einar returns to the vikings chamber and makes the speech that finally convinces his men to attack which begins:

Make no mistake, I hate this man more than anyone alive, but he can lead us to Morgana.

That speech instantly came to mind when I saw this story concerning Lindsey Graham:

With the Super Tuesday results in, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sen. Ted Cruz may be the GOP’s last hope to keep bombastic front-runner Donald Trump from the Republican nomination for president.

“You know Ted Cruz is not my favorite, by any means,” Graham told CBS Tuesday night. “But we may be in a position where we have to rally around Ted Cruz as the only way to stop Donald Trump, and I’m not so sure that would work,” noting Sen. Marco Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich are no longer viable

Graham is a vocal critic of Cruz. He has called Cruz the least respected senator and has accused Cruz of getting a head at the expense of the party.

A “Vocal Critic”? That’s putting it mildly, as allahpundit reminds us:

“If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” It also tells you a lot about how grim nominal Rubio allies have grown about his chances. When one of Congress’s most notorious super-hawks — and a fellow member of the Gang of Eight — is looking ahead to a Trump/Cruz race, says James Poulos, you know Rubio’s in trouble

Let’s be blunt when I close my eyes I can see Lindsey Graham, among a meeting of GOP establishment people starting giving the Kirk Douglas speech starting:

Make no mistake, I hate this man more than anyone alive, but he’s our one chance to defeat Trump.

And he’s right the only chance for the GOP to defeat Trump is Cruz but But what I really want to see if Graham and Cruz mimic Einar & Eric and form an alliance to defeat Donald Trump and win, their subsequent fight to the death.

I suspect we won’t discover that Graham and Cruz are secretly brothers.

Closing thought, why has Lindsey Graham reached this point? Because regardless of anything else, Lindsey Graham knows how to count, but that’s another post.

Thursday this graced the top of the Drudge Report:


As indicated by the image Al Sharpton did, well what Al Sharpton does…

Sharpton criticized the industry for having a “fraudulent image of progressive and liberal politics and policies” and compared success in Tinseltown to climbing the Rocky Mountains.

“Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets. And this year’s Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscars. Yet again, deserving black actors and directors were ignored by the Academy — which reinforces the fact that there are few if any blacks with real power in Hollywood,” Sharpton said in a statement.

Now I freely admit that I’ve seen none of he nominated pictures and the only one I’m hoping to see is Creed because of Stallone and the Rocky series and I don’t know if Reverend (when was he ordained a minister anyways) Sharpton did but I do have one question for the good reverend and one for those in the Black Community who agree with him.

“Which of the current nominees was unworthy of an Oscar nomination and which one would you remove to replace with a nominee of a color acceptable to you?

I think we need to know who Al Sharpton thinks wasn’t good enough.

But the 2nd question goes to the people of color in the film community:

With the complete understanding that the nomination for an oscar can generate cash and open doors and how important it is, if Reverend Sharpton got his way and forced Hollywood to make sure there was an acceptable quantity of black nominees do you really want to be considered the Token Black who only got his nomination for his race?

I ask this because if the Reverend Al gets his way that’s how people will think of you within your industry and every single person, studio who fails to get a nomination in the future will point to you in private and call you Token.

Are you willing to do this to yourself and every other black film maker who follows you just so Al Sharpton can shake down the studios?

Would you to this to your race, your children and yourself? If the answer is yes then be aware that any time you speak of “Black Pride” in the future be aware that at least two people know you’re lying.

Me and you.

Those Damn Pictures

Boss Tweed commenting on Thomas Nast’s cartoons

The Hollywood Reporter: ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’: Film Review

Although it was never presented as such in news accounts, the siege on the diplomatic enclave and the secret CIA facility a mile away resembles in its dramatization nothing so much as the battle of the Alamo, albeit with a better ending as far as the Americans were concerned. As with so many accounts of Western involvement in the Middle East and other regions — Black Hawk Down, for starters — this is the story of a fiasco, one made less so by the fierce and selfless commitment of a few good men

DaTechGuy: The Alamo at San Antonio De Benghazi:

Like the Alamo these two men were fighting for time against a foe that outnumber them on the order of 50 to one. They understood that by going into that building their odds were very slim to come out alive but their honor and duty demanded that they act, that they do SOMETHING for their fellow Americans in danger and perhaps, just perhaps they would hold out long enough for help to arrive to rout their enemies.

The Hollywood Reporter: ’13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi’: Film Review

Although terrible damage has been done, the invaders are eventually repulsed by the small band of Americans doing some very expert shooting. Fighting continues on the streets in scenes that carry a violent video-game feel, a new wave of marauders is turned back and, as at the Alamo, a period of low-simmering anxiety permeates the night as a follow-up bombardment is awaited.

DaTechGuy: The Alamo at San Antonio De Benghazi:

Remember at the Alamo they beat back the first wave before sheer number overwhelmed the Texans who defended it.

Picture that night for a moment, In the end attackers lost 30-60% of their force but for the sake of argument let’s say only 25% of that was in the first wave. You’re attacking the compound, you’ve been attacking for hours and seen people fall all around you. You’ve been beaten back once and don’t actually know how many men are inside, what do you think would have happened if they heard the sound of a single helicopter gunship? A single plane? a single drone dropping a bomb on the force already bloodied at a rate that would cause most Western countries to declare the mission a disaster?

They would have run.

This movie is going to be hated by the left particularly when it makes a fortune.

As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met (him). They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed.

And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan.

Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Luke 17:12-17

On Thursday the Big Bang Theory sent up Star Wars Movie Fanaticism and after years of speculation and an epiphany from Sheldon from the previous week concerning his love for Amy.

But while Amy & Sheldon’s big night was the big news for me the opening was really something, not just for the Star Wars titles which were pretty funny but for this scene.

I find it the perfect Analogy for how so many people treat the Christian faith.

Consider the situation. Sheldon is panic ridden at the thought of not getting tickets to see Star Wars on opening day so with no other option available he appeals to God, on his Knees asking for help.

Before he is half way thorough his prayer it is answered suddenly Howard as the tickets that Sheldon was praying for.

And that’s when Sheldon drops him like a rock.

Now for the sake of comedy of course that works but for the sake of reality for too many people that is how they approach Christianity, they need something in a crisis, ask God for help in the crisis and when that help is provided they slowly walk away convincing themselves that he had nothing to do with it.

Historically this is normal, people run to God in crisis but when things get better they walk away.

It’s a dangerous way of looking at life and is even more dangerous if it’s not corrected before death.

So in this year of mercy by all means turn to God when things are bad, but don’t forget him when things get better.

After a very good day’s sleep I turned on the TV and found this scene from Animal House playing.

Watching for a little while and thinking of the Star wars fanaticism that’s been going on it hit me that both of these movies came out in the late 70’s. It was a time when many of the 60’s generation had young kids who because of their parent’s decision to foolishly abandon christianity had no real exposure to religion.

By an odd coincidence both of these excellent movies became more than movies, they became ways of life.

At colleges all over the nation the primary purpose of college to many became to get drunk and score. Meanwhile kids who normally moved from one popular movie or TV show to another (remember the Davy Crockett caps) stayed with Star Wars to the point where it wasn’t abandoned in adulthood and was even passed onto the next generation.

Now there is nothing wrong with enjoying a great comedy or action movie, both of these pictures were a lot of fun but it’s not healthy to replace your moral code with them.

Consider this famous scene from Animal House

The Dean’s words: “Fat drunk & stupid is no way to go through life son.” Is excellent advice that any parent worth a damn would give his or her kids, but HE is considered the villain in this scene, the person to be defeated and ignored.

As a gag or joke, that’s fine, as a way of life, that’s disaster.

Meanwhile for people who have decided that the wisdom of generations concerning the Church and Christ and public events such as the miracle of he sun at Fatima seen by thousands are to be discounted find themselves engrossed in the “force” & “jedi” mysticism. Something that feeds the need for thing beyond themselves without actual commitment to anything but buying the latest toy.

Again as a fun distraction it’s fine, as a replacement for Christ, it doesn’t work. Take a look at the line of fanatics waiting to see the next installment in their gospel, how many of them do you think know anything of the real one?

As a creature with a soul man instinctively has a need for God, and when you take God away from him , he tries to find something to replace him with.

Again I like both of these movies and everybody know that I’m a big Doctor Who fan and if you want to enjoy and be entertained by the Star Wars or Doctor Who franchises that’s fine. Likewise if you want to laugh at Animal House and the genius of John Belushi that’s great.

But if you use any of these three as a “how to” for life, you are going to be disappointed and your culture will suffer.


I used to frequent Princeton’s Trinity Church years ago, and one powerful reason was their excellent music.

The local Catholic church, alas, played dreadful pseudo-folksy guitar-strumming stuff I would not call music, but Trinity’s music director, Dr. Andrew Shenton, did a magnificent job with the choir, and for a recessional would often play Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

It was a revelation, and a feast.

The pastor, Leslie Smith, loved William Blake, and among the beautiful hymns he selected, Jerusalem (you can see it performed in Elgar’s full orchestration at the last royal wedding) stood out. Jerusalem has been called a poem of struggle:

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England’s pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England’s green & pleasant Land

Anglican Church tradition holds that a young Jesus traveled to England with his uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a merchant. The Anglicans view Jerusalem as a metaphor for Heaven. So far, so good, but, what about those “dark Satanic Mills”?

What does that phrase mean?

Wikipedia lists several interpretations:
– The mills of the industrial revolution, one of which went up in flames near Blake’s home,
– The church establishment’s doctrine of conformity to the established social order and class system,
– Or,

rather something more abstract: “the starry Mills of Satan/ Are built beneath the earth and waters of the Mundane Shell…To Mortals thy Mills seem everything, and the Harrow of Shaddai / A scheme of human conduct invisible and incomprehensible”

Much has been written about it, but, as I see it, Jerusalem encapsulates several Western values: a Judeo-Christian tradition, a poem of the Romantic period, stirring use of language, pride in England’s land and heritage, and the individual’s quest for a better spiritual state.

In the 21st Century, Jerusalem has been banned as being too nationalistic. One key word jumps out: banned.

Which brings me back to my question, what about those “dark Satanic Mills”? Should the banning of Jerusalem, and similar acts of political correctness, be considered one of the “dark Satanic Mills” of our times?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Headline: Berkeley Passes Strict Laws For Sidewalks, Homeless

CBS Sf Bay Dec 2 2015

Barkley: Let’s go people, you can’t stay here. You are being relocated.
Homeless Man 6: Hey, you can’t kick us out of here, man.
Sgt. Yates: Oh no? I’m a cop.

South Park Naughty Ninjas 2015

Today’s Saturday Night Sherlock is Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes & Watson in the 1943 picture Sherlock Holmes Faces Death

I always found this title redundant, when does Sherlock Holmes not face death?

You might notice actor Milburn Stone in this movie who toiled unnoticed in B films until 1955 brought him the role of Doc Adams in Gunsmoke that would over the next two decades make him known to all.

I stopped watching network TV years ago from total lack of interest, and the little things that bothered me. By little things, I mean the consistent portrayals of men, especially the dads, as totally ineffective dufuses (dufi?), inevitably wise “courageous” moms, and smart-aleck kids.

That, and that the kids are always shorter than the parents. In my family, with the notable exception of my maternal grandfather, the younger generation has always been taller. Right now the guys are at least 6’3″ tall, but I digress.

Cable grown-up soap operas are different. Mad Men was very popular among my son’s high-school friends, to the point where they had season-finale parties where the boys wore suits, neckties and fedoras, and the girls dresses and gloves. This was enough to pique my interest, so I started watching. Likewise, my son highly recommended Breaking Bad, and after I started watching, it led to discussions on Walter White’s all-corrupting quest for power.

The men in these shows are strong, highly-defined characters; many are downright evil (Breaking Bad‘s Walter White), some are very flawed (for a while there, Mad Men‘s Don Draper turned into just another really good-looking drunk), and some grow to be heroes (Breaking Bad‘s Walter Jr, played by RJ Mitte).

Recently I’ve been watching Fargo, a modern Western set against a desolate winter backdrop. The guys (good and bad) in Fargo are sumthin‘. The first season showed a young female police officer against the evil guys (notably Billy Bob Thorton), with the support of her very sharp dad, and a fellow cop as a romantic interest. This year an evil mom is going head-to-head against the cops and the mob.

Premium cable channels have two other soaps worth considering: Ray Donovan on Showtime, and The Knick on Cinemax. Liev Schriber plays Ray, Clive Owen plays  The Knick’s head surgeon Dr. John Thackery.

I must warn you that, in addition to plenty of sex, drug use and violence in both, the dialogue in Ray Donovan is very heavily peppered with the f-word, and The Knick’s surgery scenes are big on gore, brains and guts.

I can’t leave out Amazon’s Bosch. Titus Welliver plays the LA detective named after Medieval artist Hieronymous Bosch. You may call him Harry, but make sure to ask him first.

While all the above feature very manly guys, the women are not little girls looking for safe spaces; they are also up to the challenge. That’s what keeps you watching.

All these series stand out by featuring stories about manly men played by manly guys, and nowadays, where pajama boys drinking hot chocolate are telling us what to talk about at Christmas (not that pj boys would dare utter the word “Christmas”), that’s worth looking into.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.



Just a reminder that pretending to be a hero who fights for the west in movies doesn’t make it so in reality.

Details: Is it true that when you stay at hotels you tear out the Bible page that condemns homosexuality?

Ian McKellen: I do, absolutely. I’m not proudly defacing the book, but it’s a choice between removing that page and throwing away the whole Bible. And I’m not really the first: I got delivered a package of 40 of those pages — Leviticus 18:22 — that had been torn out by a married couple I know. They put them on a bit of string so that I could hang it up in the bathroom.

That a member of the race that fought the book burning Nazis is doing this is frankly an insult to the memory of those who fought to destroy them but Sir Ian’s actions bring up three interesting thoughts.

The first is the obvious question to one familiar with scripture:  Why pull the pages from Leviticus but not from St. Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians:

Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. 

That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

I can’t see why one would leave St. Paul and the New Testament alone when it is much more read than Leviticus.  If the goal is to prevent people from reading that message the logical move would be to pull both or if one is removing only one, the latter.  I’m presuming it’s sheer ignorance on his part but given attempts to spin the New Testament lately by revisionist scholars perhaps doing so would be damaging to those efforts.  It would be a public statement that Christ stands against this sin and this would undermine too many pretending something else.

The Second thought comes from this ironic passage via Instapundit concerning syrian refugees:

Sir Ian McKellen comments on the influx of Syrian refugees into Western nations. McKellen says these people should ‘be looked after’ until they can return to their home country and that we should trust authorities to weed out any individual who poses a threat.

I find this a rather odd contradiction give Islam’s great love for Homosexuality as the very publicly gay Milo Yiannopoulos:

So you can accuse me of being “islamophobic” if you want, because no, I don’t want to be shouted at or spat on in the street. Maybe my gayness is standing in the way of a Muslim utopia… but I’m going to be selfish here and say maybe we don’t import all the people who want to murder me.

I’m serious. Gay people are getting stoned to death all the time in the Middle East, and not in the fun way: in the throw-big-rocks-at-your-head-until-you-die way. I don’t mean to be callous, but what are we gaining by letting these people in? Why can’t we help them with overseas aid? Why do they need to come here? Aren’t we just encouraging more of them to risk the trip by throwing our borders open?

and we’re not just talking ISIS either:

These are the attitudes we’re importing by allowing millions of Muslims to settle in western Europe. Sorry if that sounds intolerant, but remember women and gays aren’t just treated like shit by ISIS, but mainstream Muslim culture, too. I can’t remember how many Muslim countries have the death penalty for homosexuality. What is it, ten? Eleven?

If Sir Ian can’t handle the christian scriptures, thousands of people bearing the Koran or books of Hadiths which are still being used to kill gays all over the world under local law should be unbearable for him.

We don’t have any word on if Sir Ian feels compelled to tear pages out of the Koran or of Islamic Hadiths when he encounters them.  Larry King didn’t bother to ask, if he does perhaps he may choose to keep quiet about it.

I can’t imagine why.


Finally and most revealing is his self congratulatory statement of restraint saying it’s a choice between defacing the book or throwing it away altogether.

What’s so interesting is that there is an obvious 3rd choice:  Leave the book alone. 

While we often hear the culture portray Christians of all stripes as “puritanical” and “intolerant” there seems to be a distinct lack of christians defacing or destroying what would be considered “gay friendly” material when encountering it during travel.

The fact that the wealthy and comfortable Sir Ian doesn’t seem to have the restraint that’s shown by the average Christian speaks volumes about the supposed tolerance and open-mindedness of the left but I suspect it speaks to something else.

As I’ve said many times no amount of belief on my part or disbelief on someone else’s part changes has any bearing on the actual truth of Christianity in general or Catholicism in particular (or any other religion for that matter).

As a Catholic the truth of the faith is a given and while I might object to the long term cultural damage the changes the left have brought to society I don’t let myself be made crazy by them because in the end none of it changes eternal truths.  My primary responsibility is my own soul.  While I might pray for and advise others concerning said truths in the hope helping them gain eternal life & sparing them the sufferings of eternal damnation the final responsibility for their souls is ultimately their concern and while it’s sad I don’t allow it to keep me from functioning.

Yet to McKellen who considers scripture a fantasy to be ignored and is clearly an educated man simply can’t handle a page in a book.

Mind you he doesn’t have to read that page, he doesn’t have to open the book in fact he doesn’t have to open the particular drawer that the book is in.  Simply knowing that a page in a book in a drawer in a room condemns his life choices is too much for him.

Now if he believes the Bible is just a fable and Christianity is just a made up religion such an obsession to destruction is beneath a man as erudite and educated as Sir Ian McKellen.  It’s an act that is completely irrational.

But if I’m right and the whole thing, Jesus, God, Angels, Devils etc are in fact reality than said obsession makes perfect sense.  It would mean that the page in that book is a reminder of a truth that can be denied only for a time, a truth that his guardian angel whispers in his ear, a truth that at age seventy is closing in.

Proverbs says:  The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD, (Proverbs 9:10a).  I submit and suggest that Sir Ian’s apparent fear is completely rational and is a sign of hope for him, because there is always the chance that said fear will move him to different action.

I wish him luck.


The only pay I get for this work comes from you. My goal for 2015 is $22,000 and to date we’re only at $4400

Given that fact I would I ask you to please consider hitting DaTipJar.

Olimometer 2.52

That gets all the bills paid. Consider Subscribing 100 Subscribers at $20 a month will get the job done and then some.

Choose a Subscription level

Additionally our subscribers get our podcast emailed directly to them before it show up anywhere else.

I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

Mayor Mario Lugatto: Look at my really Shockeda Facea

McHale’s Navy 1966

In our current culture a lot of people have plenty of contempt for the rules of Christianity concerning sex, that is no sex outside of marriage, no sleeping around inside of marriage, no same sex relationships etc…

Now a Christian in general and a Catholic in particular would argue that since the goal is eternal life, avoiding these mortal sin, despite the pleasures they might offer in this world is a small price to pay to avoid eternal damnation and manage eternal life, but that argument isn’t going to fly with a non believer. So lets just put it this way. Avoiding sleeping around with every sentient being in sight avoids situations like this:

In a bombshell world exclusive, The National ENQUIRER can reveal that the bad boy actor has been hiding an explosive secret from the world: He is HIV positive.

In our next issue — to hit newsstands nationwide on November 18 — The ENQUIRER blows wide open the scandal we first revealed last month.

Of course the shock isn’t that Charlie Sheen has contracted HIV, the shock is given his lifestyle it took so long.

In fact if Two and a half men was anything like reality this would have been the logical ending for Charlie as opposed to the piano on the head.

Two other things worth mentioning:

1. Right now there is a panic among the large collection of men/women and others who choose to share a bed with Mr. Sheen. Given Charlie Sheen’s reputation and the knowledge that nothing with a heartbeat was off the table for him the choice to share his bed ranks up there with playing in traffic.

2. The worst part about all of this is that for a long time Mr. Sheen’s lifestyle was celebrated and lionized by the media and the culture as an ideal or a goal. Sheen is a really rich guy and can afford high priced specialists, the most expensive of treatments and the best care that money can buy. That isn’t true of the people who were sold this stuff for a generation who will have to live with the consequences of bad choices that were sold to them without the benefit of wealth. Those people have a lot to answer for.

Closing thought:  One of the smartest things I ever heard in a sermon was God gave us these rules because they were good for us, not because they were good for him. It’s not a surprise, that’s what a good parent does.

Update:  A good point from Stacy McCain

Even the most disengaged person in the country knows that for all the talk of artistry Hollywood is pretty much a PR machine.

Hollywood pushes all kinds of movies:  fantasy, action, comedies, kid flicks.  There are all kinds of actors, A list stars, character actors, unknowns, You see war, peace love and lessons, CGI and live action but when it comes down to it, all the special effects, big names, and locations are about creating an image and selling that image to you.

That’s the job of Hollywood, That’s PR.

The movie industry pulls out all the stops to do this.  According to Ad week the motion picture industry as a whole spent 3.2 billion in 2012 on advertising their product from TV to the Internet and everywhere else.

Looking at a single studio in 2013 20th Century Fox (or just Fox if you prefer) released 13 movies.  Some of them are pictures were big box office successes that you likely heard of ( The Wolverine, the Croods.)  Some of them you might not have seen at the movies but know the franchises.  (A Good Day to Die Hard) some that you likely never heard of or caught on cable (the Counselor) and some you might have heard of because of the sheer volumes of ads but you gave it a miss because it looked kinda lame ( The secret life of Walter Mitty).

The movies Fox made featured stars that are household names:  Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Bruce Willis, Rosie Perez, Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck.  You see them on posters; you’ve watched them on the morning show, on daytime talk on late night shows pitching their pictures.  You’ve seen the ads on TV, and the trailers and posters at the movie theaters when they came out and on Cable as you browse though the on demand menus.

In 2013 Fox spent $303,000,000 to promote those 13 movies.  While some of that money filled seats and some did not, it’s almost a given that even if you didn’t go to see those pictures if I rattled off their names you would have likely heard of them and even if you didn’t remember much about the movies you would know the stars.

Bottom line all that Hollywood PR money made its mark in your memory.


And that oddly enough brings us to the EPA and a report put out by a group called Open the Books.  As indicated by the name, they are all about transparency in government spending.

Their latest report details spending by the EPA from 2000 to 2014 and there are a lot of things in that report that really jump out at you.

Since 2000 they have given out double in grants than the entire Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has in total assets. (p1)

Their 2015 budget this year is higher than the budgets of 8 states (p1)

A full 1/3 of EPA employees (over 10,000) position make over $100 a year.  (p31)

But what really jumped out at me was the spending on PR:

198 ‘Public Affairs’ employees (FY2012) were employed by EPA. Since 2007, EPA spent over $141,495,571 in salaries and another $1.5 million in performance bonuses. The EPA also spent $15,093,088 with outside public relations consultants to further buttress PR. ‘Public Affairs’ ranked 16th most paid salary title at EPA since FY2007.


So between outside PR firms and internal “public affairs” employees that comes to over $150 million dollars over 8 years on PR.

To put that in perspective that’s more than the production budgets of the 2013 Fox releases , Runner Runner, A Good day to die hard and The counselor combined. Those three pictures featured Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Bruce Willis, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Rosie Perez and Brad Pitt.

So given those facts three things immediately leap to mind.

How can the EPA spend 19.7 million a year on PR without, you know, actually promoting anything?

When Hollywood promotes a movie you see the posters everywhere, you see the stars on TV, you hear them on radio, you are bombarded with information to the point where even if you want to forget about a movie or a star, you can’t.  It pops into your head.

I defy anyone to come up with anything the EPA has promoted that you have heard of?  The only thing you have likely heard at all concerning the EPA concerning that nasty mine spill that turned a river orange.  That’s something  the EPA is doing their best to make you forget.

If the EPA is spending millions promoting something they’re doing don’t you think someone in the country might have heard of it?

If we aren’t the target of that 19.7 million a year pr WHO IS?

Ok if the EPA is spending 19.7 million a year to PR people and they aren’t trying to advertise or promote the EPA to the public and the taxpayer who are they spinning?

You’re talking a group of employees with an average wage of $90K that’s not chicken feed, you are spending the more than hit movies cost.  We know a movie maker is trying to sell their product to the viewing public, exactly who is the EPA spending all this money trying to sell?  Who is the target and what is their goal?

I mean Jem and the Holograms crashed and burned but at least people have heard of it?  What has the EPA done lately other than pollute rivers that we know about?

What is the EPA doing spending millions on PR people anyway?

 Have we run out of sites that need cleaning or inspecting?  Is the air and water so clean , the species so safe and our country so unpolluted that we have the extra to blow on this kind of thing?

I think those are excellent questions, I think it would be really interesting to get the answers.

Don’t you?

For a while one of my favorite places on the net was Rich’s comic blog.  It ran the incredible strip The Ten Doctors, an almost 2 year extravaganza that you can download from this page.  My daily visit to the spot to see if the next strip was up was the first place I looked each morning.

When the 10 doctors was finished he followed it with several great Doctor Who strips, The Stalker of Norfolk featuring the 3rd Doctor,   Forever Janette featuring the 5th & 8th doctor (crossing over with the series Forever knight) .  There was an aborted James Bond Dr. Who Crossover featuring the 3rd & 10th Doctors and multiple bonds which one might hope could someday return.

There was also a story called Outrage, featuring the 6th Doctor that had a crossover with a TV show I’d never heard of, Jem and the Holograms.  The 6th doctor being who he is,  sees through Jem disguise “I know a complex double reflex stable mobile holographic projection when I see through one” but as the story develops it turns out the Doctor’s and his companion visit to a Jem concert puts them in a middle of a plot involving the Misfits, a renegade time lord and the zygons.  (the story was eventually renamed “outrage of the Zygons” once the villains were revealed.)

Over the two months I got to know the characters a little.  They very much seemed a kids or young teen girl music show but Morris’s Doctor Who story & excellent art kept me and I suspect other fans unacquainted with Jem and the Holograms  interested for the two to three months or so that the story ran.

That is apparently is stark contrast to what Hollywood has managed to do

Those of us hos from the 80s who were planning to meet with lawyers this morning to discuss suing Universal Pictures for viciously defaming the image of Jem by turning her into an annoying ABC Family movie character, don’t even have to bother. Universal got their punishment, because Jem and the Holograms was an even bigger flop than everyone predicted.

How bad?  This bad:

Jem had the worst wide opening weekend ever for a movie released by a major studio (Universal Pictures), with major marketing muscle behind it.

However Box office Mojo offers this consolation to this movie that only took in an average of $547 for each of the 2413 theaters that carried it:

Despite the lackluster result, the financial picture for Universal isn’t at all troubling as the film was reportedly made on only a $5 million budget.

That being the case the 1.3 million they took in isn’t going to be as costly a disaster as it could have been.

By contrast Rich’s comic’s blog operates completely by tip jar hits and while Rich has not put out figures on how much the tip jar jingled during his Doctor Who meets Jem days I’ll wager it didn’t result in a loss of over 3 million.

So my advice is this.   If you are a reader who has any interest in seeing what a good Gem and the Holograms story is  go to this page and read Rich’s story, and maybe kick a dollar into his tip jar on his main page.

As for universal my advice is this.  Buy the rights to Rich’s Story, license Dr. Who for the picture remake your Gem movie based on it.  Even if you cast a 72 year old Colin Baker & a 51 year old Bonnie Langford rather than a current Doctor I guarantee you’ll make your money back and then some.



Tonight’s Sherlock Holmes Entry comes from Old time Radio show “The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”

the Petri wine company sponsored the show with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce played these roles concurrently their series of movies until Rathbone (and Petri wine) dropped out and a new Holmes and a new sponsor took over.

But for now enjoy

Ok so yet another liberal arts college has decided their special snowflakes can not handle a speaker not sanctioned by the left and free speech advocates are upset:

Guy Benson at

This is hysterical, insane nonsense. Having the option of listening to a dissenting voice against the Left’s prevailing orthodoxy on gender roles in no way represents an imposition of harm, let alone “physical harm.” Such intolerant, sub-moronic delirium must be aggressively defied and mocked, not coddled and indulged. Event planners warned Venker that her upcoming address was “stirring a lot of angry reactions among students on campus,” prior to its eventual cancellation. Williams had “never experienced this kind of resistance” to a speaker, she was informed.

Greg Piper at the College Fix

Williams will probably limit its “Uncomfortable Learning” series going forward to speakers with whom students are much more comfortable.

And judging by their patronizing, holier-than-thou attitude, the Record editors aren’t likely to let anyone who intelligently questions the fruits of feminism grace their own pages.

It’s a safe space, after all.

Jonathan Adler at The Washington Post/Volokh Conspiracy

I don’t know enough about Venker to know whether her talk would have been particularly enlightening. But judging from the reaction of some Williams students to the mere prospect that she would speak on campus, it’s quite clear that enlightenment is something Williams desperately needs.

While these critiques and ridicule of Williams College are well deserved it doesn’t solve the problem of how to teach these students to think.

Fortunately there is a rather easy solution.

Williams College Uncomfortable Learning Department should sponsor a public screening of this week’s episode of South Park “Safe Space” and invite its creators to comment on it.

Now South park is a show that has been running or 19 years. It is a pop culture icon. I would be real money that at the very least a significant minority of the students on campus have seen it.

If the episode is shown either with or without the creators it will be a slap in the face to the politically correct on campus that banned Venker, but given songs in the episode like this…

…I suspect that the reaction of those who went absolutely crazy will be most gratifying. I would not be surprised to see them call for both the episode and the South Park creators to not be allowed on campus.

More importantly it’s a no lose situation. If the episode is shown on campus and the creators speak (and such an event is likely to draw huge attendance, it can’t help but bring important free speech issue to the forefront to a group of people who desperately need to hear it.

However if the episode and the creators of South Park are banned the reaction from people completely unaware of Venker but very familiar with South Park will produce a reaction so loud, so uniform and so embarrassing that it will do more good than a million posts by outraged bloggers or stories on the news.

If we’re going to defeat these people let’s fight back using the culture, Andrew Breitbart would


My goal for 2015 is $22,000.

I would I ask you to please consider hitting DaTipJar.

Olimometer 2.52

That gets all the bills paid. Consider Subscribing 100 Subscribers at $20 a month will get the job done and then some.

Choose a Subscription level

Additionally our subscribers get our podcast emailed directly to them before it show up anywhere else.

I know you can get the MSM for nothing, but that’s pretty much what most of them are worth.

It’s October 21, 2015, the day Marty McFly went thirty years Back to the Future in a De Lorean with a Mr. Coffee engine. Back to the Future Part II is playing on IMAX screens at a cinema near you, and on Amazon Prime.

Mr. Coffee spruced up and nowadays Marty would be taping the car with his cell phone instead of a camcorder, but the more things change, the more they stay the same (sorry, no flying cars):

DeLorean then: DeLorean fails its crash test
Tesla now:
Consumer Reports Stops Recommending the Tesla

Women’s shoulder pads then, women’s shoulder pads now.

In world news, in no particular order,
Canada: Trudeau then:

On 29 February 1984, Trudeau announced his intention to retire; on 30 June he left office, and his successor, John Turner, was sworn in. In 1985 he became a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Trudeau now: Meet Justin Trudeau: Canada’s Liberal, Boxing, Strip-Teasing New PM. Trudeau fils reminds me of Zoolander, but I digress.

Iran then: The Ayatollas changed the constitution to consolidate power.
Iran now: Khamenei okays nuke deal, says West should eliminate Iran sanctions

Nicaragua: Sandinistas then:
Sanders In 1985: Sandinista Leader “Impressive,” Castro “Totally Transformed” Cuba Sandinistas now: Venezuela’s Chavismo has sent Daniel Santos US$4.2 billion so far.


“A revolving billboard was suspended around the Obelisco, snugly encircling the huge white phallus. Round and round the ring turned, inscribed with an Orwellian message in bold blue letters on a plain white background: ‘Silence Is Health’.

“I was stunned. With every turn, the ring reaffirmed its doctrine, schooling Argentines in the total silence they would practice in the years to follow.”


Destroyed archives include documents stored for Argentina’s banking industry, said Buenos Aires security minister Guillermo Montenegro.

The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear.

Russia then,

The dramatic drop of the price of oil in 1985 and 1986 profoundly influenced actions of the Soviet leadership

Russia now, How will the war in Syria affect the Russian economy?

Mexico then: The effect of a natural disaster, Earthquake shakes Mexico City on September 19, 1985.
Mexico now: The effect of a man-made disaster, Inside Mexico’s Failed El Chapo RaidThe government denies it, but the Mexican navy opened fire with helicopter gunships on civilian homes in a mountain village, sending 700 families running for cover.

And last, but not least, in Back to the Future the Cubs won the World Series. They still have one last chance.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Today’s saturday night Sherlock comes from the short lived British TV Series starring Ronald Howard son of Leslie Howard in the title role.

If you are a Adventures of Robin Hood Fan Archie Duncan (Little John) appears regularly in this series as Inspector Lestrade (but not in this episode)

Since it will be quite a while before we get new episodes of “SherlocK” and while Elementary is not bad I’m not a big fan of Dr. Watson’s sex change I present for your approval the first of an occasional series of Saturday Night Sherlock Holmes movies, starting with the 1935 classic. The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes. staring Arthur Wonther in the title role, Ian fleming as Dr. Watson and Lyn Harding as James Moriarty


Wild Tales (Relatos Salvajes) was nominated for Best Foreign Film this year. I can’t tell you whether it’s a better film than the winner, Ida (since I haven’t seen it), but I can tell you that I’m wild about Wild Tales.

There aren’t many Argentinian films that make it to our shores, but over the years three stand out: Nine Queens (Nueve reinas, 2000), The Secret in Their Eyes (El secreto de sus ojos, 2009), and now Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes, 2014). All three are enjoyable, but Wild Tales is exceptional.

Anthology films carry short stories that may or may not be tied together.  In Grand Hotel (1932), the stories are tied under the same roof; in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), they are not. Wild Tales has more in common with the latter – starting with the opening tale, which takes place in an airplane.

Right after that opening tale, the credit sequence shows all the names next to photos of wild animals (the three producers with three elephants), adding a touch of humor. Actor Ricardo Darin, who stars in all three of the Argentinian films mentioned above, gets top billing and an eagle.

There are six tales in total,
1. The airplane
2. The roadside restaurant
3. The car trip (remember Duel? This will keep you on your toes, too)
4. The towed car
5. The accident
6. The wedding

The appeal of the tales is that they each can take place anywhere.

All the stories are brilliantly interpreted by an excellent cast, and beautifully executed with the photography, cinematography, soundtrack, and every other aspect striking the right note. The locations vary from claustrophobic to wide-open, depending not only on the tale, but on the plot twists.

I’m not going to spoil the film by giving away anything more. Just keep in mind that the official website describes its characters as

Una traición amorosa, el retorno del pasado, una tragedia, o incluso la violencia contenida en un detalle cotidiano, se presentan para impulsarlos al vértigo de perder los estribos, al innegable placer de perder del control.

A love betrayed, the return of the past, a tragedy, or even the violence in a daily event, propels them to the vertigo of outrage, to the undeniable pleasure of losing control

Yes, melodramatic as it sounds, it’s worth it.

Funny, astonishing, suspenseful. . . Wild Tales.

Rated R for language, violence, sex scenes, and adult themes, this is not a film for kids.

Argentinian Spanish with English subtitles.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

I speak to author Mary Claire Kendal at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her twitter page is here, Her web page is here

I speak to author Stephanie Landsem at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her web site is here. Her facebook page is here, her twitter page is here

Oh and I read The Well,  it’s really good.

I speak to author Deanna Klingel at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her web site is here. Her facebook page is here, her twitter page is here

Sheldon Cooper: The backwash into this glass is every pathogen that calls your mouth “home sweet home.” Not to mention the visitors who arrive on the dancing tongue of your subtropical girlfriend.
Raj Koothrappali: Hey! That’s my sister and my country you’re talking about! Leonard may have defiled one, but I won’t have you talking smack about the other!
  Bernadette Rostenkowski: You guys ready to order?
Sheldon Cooper: Yes. I’d like a seven-day course of penicillin, some syrup of ipecac to induce vomiting, and a mint.

The Big Bang Theory   The engagement reaction 2011


Saturday morning when I woke up I was brooding a bit.  Like all Christians of all denomination I have to deal with my personal sins and the temptations toward them and like everybody else there are particular sins that I’m inclined toward while there are others that I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

The frustration comes when I consider that today I will go to confession and will find myself confessing similar sins to my last visit and while I remember what a priest once told me.  (“What do you want?  New sins?”)  It doesn’t decrease the embarrassment or the frustration.

But the more I think about it the more I realize that I’m falling into the Sheldon Cooper trap.

What does Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory have to do with sin?  It’s like this Sheldon has two types of issues compatible with sin.  One type where he has absolutely no concept that what he is doing is improper such as these two scenes from the episode the Egg Salad Equivalency (2013) First with his assistant Alex

and then with the HR department

Or when he asks Penny this during the episode The White Asparagus Triangulation 2008

In these situations Sheldon is doing something he should not be but he’s completely oblivious to what he’s doing, he doesn’t see what it’s any kind of big deal, in fact he sometimes takes joy in them

Leonard Hofstadter: Hey, where you been?
Sheldon Cooper: I’ll tell you where I’ve been. You boys may have had gelato with Stan Lee and gotten autographed comics, but I saw the inside of his house and got an autographed application for a restraining order.
Howard Wolowitz: [ with sarasiam] Sweet.
Sheldon Cooper: Plus, I get to hang out with him again… at the hearing. This is going to look great, hanging next to my restraining order from Leonard Nimoy.

The Excelsior Acquisition (2010)


The other half of the coin is Sheldon’s obsessive fears.  When something bothers hi, it drives him absolutely nuts

Leonard Hofstadter:Sheldon, let’s go!
Sheldon Cooper: To a hospital? Full of sick people? Oh, I don’t think so.
Penny:Okay, well, your friend and his mother are there. We’re going!
Sheldon Cooper:I can’t.
Penny:Oh, don’t tell me you’re afraid of germs.
Sheldon Cooper:Not all germs. Just the ones that will kill me. The same way I’m not afraid of all steak knives; just the ones that might be plunged in my thorax.

The Big Bang Theory   The engagement reaction 2011

For those of you still unaware  Sheldon Cooper is obsessively afraid of germs & illness as per this scene from the 2008 episode The Pancake Batter Anomaly.


And his fear crosses into every single aspect of his life:

Penny: If this takes off I won’t have to be a waitress anymore.
Sheldon Cooper: But then who will bring me my cheeseburger on Tuesday nights?
Penny: Another waitress?
Sheldon Cooper: What’s her name?
Penny: I don’t know.
Sheldon Cooper: And you’re going to let her handle my food?

The work song nanocluster 2009

And his fears beyond germs go to the point of comic absurdity

Leonard:Just till him to go home
Penny: He won’t leave, he says he’s afraid he’ll pass out on the bus and someone will harvest his organs.

The Pancake Batter Anomaly  2009

So Sheldon is an example of one who is either obsessed to the point of paranoia or oblivious to the point of destruction and there’s no better moment in the series that captures both of these points than the reaction to Penny’s dirty apartment in the 2007 episode The Big Bran Hypothesis.

Both the obliviousness to sin and the obsession with it are manifestations of the sin of pride (of which Sheldon has in abundance) , and  while it makes for emmy winning comedy in the Big Bang theory it also sums up the way Satan plays with sin in ourselves.

If we are oblivious to sin we are willing to commit it with reckless abandon:  it’s no big deal, it’s nothing to worry about, you can always go to confession , everybody sins, it’s just human nature and thus we minimize what we are doing, or we, like Sheldon did in the scene above, decide that our sins are actually a virtue (breaking into Penny’s apartment to clean it) either for a cause or for the good of others.

Then there is the other side of the coin where we obsess over our sins, where we let that obsession paralyze us, make us unable to function, Where we think our sins are so bad or so embarrassing that we don’t even want to confess them.  We may, even get to the point where we become so obsessed with Sin that we spend more time hitting others concerning their sin than worrying about our own.  Or we become obsessed with hiding our sin and become the Whitewashed tombs that Jesus compared the Pharisees to.

What is the answer?  It’s both simple and hard.  We acknowledge our sinfulness and strive to avoid committing it but remember that Jesus Christ had died for them and through the Church and the sacrament of confession they can be washed away.  The Apostle John put it quite well:

My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.  He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.  The way we may be sure 2 that we know him is to keep his commandments.

1 John 2:1-3

As has Pope Francis puts it almost as well (emphasis mine)

“‘Oh, Father, if you knew my life you wouldn’t say that.’ ‘Why? What have you done?’ ‘Oh, I’ve done bad things.’ ‘Good! Go to Jesus; He likes you to tell him these things. He forgets. He has the special ability to forget. He forgets them, kisses you, embraces you, and tells you only: ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.’ He only gives you this counsel. A month later we are the same … We return to the Lord. The Lord never tires of forgiving us, never! We are the ones who get tired of asking forgiveness. Let us ask for the grace to never tire of asking forgiveness, because He never tires of forgiving us. Let us ask for this grace.”

That’s the ultimate manifestation of the sin of pride, that we see forgiveness it as an entitlement rather than the gift from God for the asking to the point were we consider the act of asking God for this great gift as a burden an imposition placed on us by God rather than the path to eternal life.

Don’t fall for either extreme, have a healthy respect for the temptations that lead to sin but couple that with the humility to seek the forgiveness freely offered in the confessional when you stumble.

You won’t win an emmy for it, but if you persevere you’ll come home with an even greater prize.


Normally I wouldn’t put it this way but right, with a car falling apart, a floor that needs to be torn up and some big debts I’m really in a bind and I’d really appreciate it if you can give me a hand getting out of it.

My goal for 2015 is Twenty Two grand which will give me a nominal living doing this.

Olimometer 2.52

That gets all the bills paid. (including my writers like Fausta)  If I can get to Forty Thousand I can afford to travel outside of New England and/or hire me a blogger to help me get it done.

Consider Subscribing 100 Subscribers at $20 a month will get the job done and then some.

Additionally our subscribers get our podcast emailed directly to them before it show up anywhere else.

If you could kick in I’d really appreciate it.

I spoke to Author Ellen Gable head of the Catholic Media Guild at the Catholic Marketing Trade Show

Her website is here, the Catholic writers guild is here.

You can buy her books below.

Scarlet: All those lies, you can’t fool daddy so easy.
C.R. MacNamara: I didn’t say it would be easy.

One Two Three 1961

This weekend on one of the old movie networks the picture One Two Three Staring Jimmy Cagney was on.  It’s  one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen & relies on .  It is an incredibly fast paced movie where the jokes are rapid fire, particularly in the 2nd half of the picture) .

But as I watched and laughed it occurred to me that this generation simply wouldn’t get the jokes

Yeah there are things they would recognize,  the evil philandering businessman obsessed with status &full of underhanded plots.  Germans as reluctant ex Nazis,

C.R. MacNamara: Schlemmer, I want all those people out there to drop everything and stand by for orders! General alarm, complete mobilization!
Schlemmer: Ah, like the good old days, yes, sir!

the portrayal of southerners as easily fooled bumpkins.

Scarlett:  [concerning Yankee go home balloons]  They’re not anti-american they’re anti Yankee and where I come from everyone hates the Yankees

And the south as a world to be banished to:

Phyllis MacNamara: Why can’t you get yourself a nice permanent job with the home office in Atlanta?
C.R. MacNamara: Atlanta? You can’t be serious! That’s Siberia with mint juleps!

If they are informed enough they might even recognize the Russians doing better than us in space.

But in the end while individual jokes would work the basic plot and the mindset of those involved would totally throw everybody off.

First of all there is McNamara’s.  Why is he worried so about Scarlett’s marriage that he wants to wipe it out of existence?   Divorce  is a very easy thing and no big deal and anyways it’s not like he respects his own marriage all that much.

Second of all there is the idea that the communists might be underhanded.  All through school the young American student has been taught about how awful their country is.  They have been surrounded by professors who have extolled the left. So when the young Otto Piffel finds himself under the 3rd degree, made to confess that he is an American spy they are left confused, and when Peripetchikoff defects and turns in his companions saying if he doesn’t do it to them they’d do it to him he cries out:

Otto Ludwig Piffl: Is everybody in this world corrupt?

Peripetchikoff: I don’t know everybody.

But the real character that would throw them into confusion is Scarlett.

Here is a girl of 17 who has been engaged four times.  This is the first thing that would confuse them.  Why bother with engagement?  Particularly if she just having a good time.  Why is it so necessary to go through that step?

Then there is Otto.  It’s obvious that her relationship with Otto is different from the other men she’s been with.  She carries herself differently with him, actually getting married as if it was a prerequisite for sex.  Where on earth would she get a foolish idea like that?

And then when it’s revealed that she’s pregnant that really throws them off.  Yeah, their first thought might be her birth control might have failed but she carries herself as if she hasn’t been using contraception from the start with Otto?  It’s as if the possibility of having children is an integral part of marriage.

And even odder MacNamara never even hints at the idea of an abortion, either to himself or to Scarlett to solve this baby problem.  It’s as if the thought doesn’t even occur to him.  Here is a guy willing to lie, to cheat, to get a young man arrested by the East Germans and even willing to let a Nazi off the hook if it keeps his plans going, but abortion is beyond the pale.

But that is nothing compared to Scarlett’s reaction when a frustrated Otto seeing his world view shattered and understanding that he’s been in many ways living in a lie suggests (off camera) a child shouldn’t be brought into such a world.

Scarlett runs shouting into MacNamara’s office saying she hates Otto & never wants to see him again and he comes running in apologetically saying he didn’t mean it.

And that’s the final conundrum.  Scarlett’s is flighty, she’s a tad easy but her entire attitude reeks of the concepts that:

1.  Marriage is a sacred bond not to be discarded lightly

2.  Sex is something that’s integral to marriage not just for any old guy.

3.   An unborn child has intrinsic value.

Even MacNamara’s while not respecting marriage himself (until the very end) make herculean efforts to get the marriage license out of East Germany because he recognizes what it is.  And when it’s apparent here is a child involved he reverses himself because of the intimate connection between marriage and children and it’s that recognition and the efforts that it produces (all for selfish reasons)  that eventually wins over the naive Scarlett in the end.

What amazing is this movie basically about dealing with a wild young girl having wild times on a wild trip, all of these concepts are completely and utterly advanced without even the hint of “religion” coming up.

These concepts were one the basic cultural concepts of a United States.  A country where intact families were the norm, teenage suicide was practically non-existent and life was respected.

Maybe it would be a smart idea to sit a few of our kids down for a movie like this, and in between laughs when they ask the questions I’ve raised they might understand the culture we once had and why it worked.