by baldilocks

Love is in the air.

Mass murderer Nikolas Cruz is getting stacks of fan mail and love letters sent to the Broward County jail, along with hundreds of dollars in contributions to his commissary account.

Teenage girls, women and even older men are writing to the Parkland school shooter and sending photographs — some suggestive — tucked inside cute greeting cards and attached to notebook paper with offers of friendship and encouragement. Groupies also are joining Facebook communities to talk about how to help the killer.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel obtained copies of some of the letters showing that Cruz, who had few friends in the outside world, is now being showered with attention. (…)

A teenager wrote on March 15: “I’m 18-years-old. I’m a senior in high school. When I saw your picture on the television, something attracted me to you.” (…)

A woman from Chicago enclosed nine suggestive photos, including a shot of cleavage, another in a skimpy bikini eating a Popsicle and a tight shot of her backside as she bent over. Another girl sent photos with Hello Kitty Snapchat filters. (…)

This sort of thing is certainly not unprecedented. Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and, more recently, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – one of the perpetrators of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing – are examples of mass murders/serial killers who attracted throngs of women.

It shouldn’t even be surprising. The Devil has tons of fans; why wouldn’t his servants also attract those who find excitement in evil?

Moving away from these extremes, so-called normal women find “bad boys” attractive, too. Such men may not be killers or law-breakers of any kind, but they are perceived as rule-breakers and that edginess is exciting – for a while. Men are also attracted by “crazy women.” (My streak of deviousness tells me many such women are some of the sanest among us.)

This sort of attraction is symbolic of a certain absence within an individual; a skewed sense of that which is good, faithful and true. For the warped mind, such things are boring.

Many of us are a little or a lot warped in this way. The key to defeating this kind of thinking is, of course, sticking close to the God of the Bible. Through this, we can get a clear view of the faults in ourselves and we can ask God to help us remove these faults.

I understand this for a good reason. I’ve had to give over to God my own warped view of what a loving man-woman relationship should be. I was never into Bad Boys, but there were other issues.  Sometimes, it necessary to have a seat and stay sitting down for an extended period. So it is that I have remained single for some time.

And that’s the key: recognize the problem, remove oneself from it, and ask the Professional Fixer of Things for help.

As for the wannabe lovers of serial killers, however, the fist step — recognition — can’t happen when one’s eyes are closed.

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

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On a sunny Orange County afternoon some twelve years ago, I was in a bookstore containing (but of course) a large coffee shop upfront. My purpose in being there was to meet up with one Mike Stand, leader of seminal Christian punk rock group the Altar Boys.

At the time, Stand’s musical career, at least as far as Christian rock was concerned, was decidedly in the rearview mirror. In more recent years he has fronted a rockabilly trio calling itself the Altar Billies. But, at the time we met so I could interview him for my book, we were talking about what had previously transpired.

During our conversation, he mentioned a sixth Altar Boys album. Now, as all fans of the group know, the band released five albums during their tenure. So, what was this mysterious sixth album to which Stand referred? He stated that it was planned to as a follow-up to Forever Mercy, adding how the album had gone so far into production it had been named: No Substitute. However, for various reasons the project was never completed, Stand lamenting that it would’ve been a much better final statement on his band’s career than Forever Mercy.

Whether the Altar Boys can be labeled the first Christian punk band is a matter for musicologists to argue. The band wasn’t a pure punk band; its music is far better described as raw, bareknuckled, hard driving rock ‘n’ roll. Tons of intensity, tons of passion, and an uncompromising lyrical message focused on salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Forever Mercy got away from the band’s musical strength. No Substitute would have been a welcome return to form. Alas, it was doubtless never to see the light of day.

I mention the above because recently Stand, along with the Boys and his boy (his son is helping with the engineering and such), has dusted off the tracks recorded by him for No Substitute, completing the tracks already recorded by using the original vocals and guitars from the 1991 and 1993 sessions as the cornerstone for completing an album even the most devoted Altar Boys fans doubted would ever see the light of day … assuming they knew it existed. There’s a Kickstarter campaign going on right now to finance the whole thing.

I said all that to say this.

As one of the other artists in my book stated, every publicly-placed creative endeavor involves a fair amount of shooting arrows over the horizon. You don’t know where they’re going to land, chances are excellent you’ll never know where they did land, and thus you do not know and will never know if you hit any intended targets. You give it your best shot (no pun intended), and you move on, all the while wondering if it mattered.

Lately I’ve been fighting a nasty streak of ennui plus hopelessness. My employer is going away, taking the store my boss and I worked ridiculously hard on with it. There are few things more frustrating than the failure of others sweeping you up with it when for your part you sweated blood to make your piece of the pie a roaring success. And it was. Now it’s going away. Definitely takes the wind out of your sails.

I’m relatively certain I’ll land another job. I’m quite certain it won’t be as personally and professionally rewarding as this one has been. Hopefully it’ll at least be all right. We shall see.

I think back to the book and wonder: did it make a difference? I did my best to lift up the artists and music I love to the world. Hopefully it made some new fans. Hopefully it reignited someone’s faith. Hopefully that sunny Orange County afternoon, and all the other interviews conducted at different times and places, mattered. I honestly don’t know.

But I’d do it again.

Perhaps one day I’ll find out if I hit anything.

by baldilocks

Sitting in for Fausta.

A frequent response from black liberals/leftists to black conservatives and our advocacy for conservative principles is that whites laugh are at us because of this. Seems silly, yes? And, whether it’s true or not, I used to be nonplussed at this assertion. Why should I care one way or another?

The interesting part about “whites laughing at us” notion is that it points the subconscious belief of liberals/leftists that black people are incapable of inductive reasoning and can only mimic white persons of any political persuasion and only do so for their entertainment – and money. This is why it never occurs to many black liberals/leftists that their conservative counterparts have reasoned their way to a different conclusion. So they attempt to play on our egos.

When people laugh derisively at something you say – and tell you that this is what they are doing – they do it with the assumption that this type of laughter will wound you in some way. But what happens if this has no effect on you?

Thinking through the obvious, ridicule is given its power only by the target. On the Internet, if someone throws some scorn my way, I choose my feelings and my response. For a long time, I’ve realized that derision does almost nothing to my feelings – I was often the target of bullies as a child and, therefore, have developed a certain immunity to it. The small effect it does have on my feelings is that it will fill me with glee. Ridicule mongers are invariably illogical, and I can usually expose it without breaking too much of a sweat. I might have a small sadistic streak. Pray for me.

Human beings instinctively hate being laughed at, being the butt of ridicule. This is a subtle form of pride.

How to become immune to it: become dedicated to the truth over all else, especially if it is an uncomfortable truth. Allowing wounded pride to subordinate truth is one of the gravest dangers to one’s soul.

You can always laugh back, since there is joy in sticking to the Truth. And you will laugh last.

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

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by baldilocks

Spelling intentional.

Many times, I find myself insufficiently interested enough in the headlines of the day or even the hidden stories requiring discovery to write about them. That makes for what is sometimes called writer’s block. But that’s not what it really is. In reality, it is the failure to pick up the pen and begin to write or the failure to open a blank word-processing document and start pushing buttons.

Yes, I’m having one of those days today, but you’re seeing the results of one of tried-and-true methods of executing a sensible missive.

I get this way because, for a while, I’ve had a low-level sense that we should be concentrating on more than the outrages of the day, even those that imperil our republic. And, yes, I realize that this sense comes through in many of my posts.

But, as is so with every human being, some event in my personal life has had the effect of cold water on my thinking. The thing which will usually do this to an individual is death and that is true of me. It was someone I used to be very close to and we never mended our breach. The good thing is that, over the years, I prayed for him frequently.

Since the revelation, I’ve been thinking of the concept of eternal life and I’ve concluded that most people, even Christians, only give lip-service to the concept until someone we love dies – especially if that person dies young. Or maybe I’m the one who was just giving it lip-service. (I’ve had loved ones pass away before, but they were of great age.)

Anyway, my grief has altered what I think is important — or, perhaps, it has amplified what I already knew. Where we are headed in the next portion of life (aka the afterlife), how we treat others in this portion of life are higher up there now. Fired FBI dude McCabe losing his pension, for example, not so high.

Here’s how I would label this altered state: the latest way that God has blessed me. Hopeful, readers will not wait for God to bless them in like manner.

But His grace is sufficient for me.

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

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Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure:
Married in haste, we may repent at leisure.

The Old Batchelour, 1693:

One of the biggest mistakes people make in marriage is haste. A trip to Vegas, or a rush to a Justice of the peace and suddenly you are in a legal relationship whose failure can cost you plenty.

A long engagement means that you get time to know each other, to spend time with each other, to see how others react in a crisis, to test your judgement. It also gives time to see how you act in conflict because conflicts WILL arise and you need to see how these will be handled.

Now by a long engagement I don’t mean living together, While that does provide some preview of coming events it becomes very easy to fall into the “it’s just a piece of paper” trap, which I will address in a future tip.

In the catholic Church there are meetings and marriage preparation that take place, these allows you to consider things that you have not advised by a person who deals with families every day and has seen marriages work and fail. This is an invaluable tool and a long engagement gives time for it to be used.

Additionally a long engagement give extra time to plan the Wedding date to maximize the chance of distant guests to attend, to give wiggle room in case an issue comes up and to be sure that your Wedding day is a memorable one.

The idea is to have a single wedding day in one’s lifetime, so take the time to make it a good one and it will help make it last.

Previously:  Tip 1:  Choose Wisely

Here in New York’s Scenic Hudson Valley, we are still digging out from two big Nor’easter storms that we’ve gotten in the past week. There are huge piles of snow and big broken tree branches all around my property, but my family was thankfully spared from the power outages that hit this area hard and our little house is still standing. Unfortunately, I’m on my second week with a nasty upper respiratory infection that my kids have caught as well so no sledding or snowman building for us. My dogs, however, had a grand old time jumping around their frozen play yard, so there’s that.

I recently learned that hot toddies can be made with pineapple juice and rum. Not for the kids, of course, although it would have been acceptable for previous generations, and while it did not really much help my symptoms but it did help me care a little bit less about them for a little while. You can make the toddies with any kind of juice, apparently, and whatever spirit you prefer as well – the key ingredients besides the booze and juice are honey and cinnamon. Heat the juice, add the other stuff, stir, and enjoy!

My mom used to make hot toddies with orange juice and whiskey before I developed a food allergy to oranges, but they are traditionally made with tea. Here is a link to a recipe for that: Dr. Pat’s Hot Toddy Cold Remedy

I’m going to have to cut this post short as there are coughing children who need my attention (so no toddies for me). I hope you are all safe and warm and well. I’ve got over the counter cold medicines, Vick’s Vapor Rub, and chicken soup to try to get us through our winter sicknesses but I am open to suggestions. If you’ve got a favorite home remedy or winter comfort food, please share in the comments section.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

by baldilocks

There’s a reason that we Southern California conservatives have a hard time letting go of our failed state. It’s 78 degrees today in Los Angeles. The rest of California is difficult not to love – even the desert areas.

With California secession in the wind, Glenn Reynolds writes about one of several intrastate secessionist groups: New California.

Sweet dreams. Cite.

[A] plan to split the wealthy, coastal regions of California from the remainder, leaving the state of “New California” to be made up of most of the state’s rural areas. As CBS News reports, “unlike other separation movements in the past, the state of New California wants to do things by the book, citing Article 4, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution and working with the state legislature to get it done, similar to the way West Virginia was formed. … The group is organized with committees and a council of county representatives, but say it will take 10 to 18 months before they are ready to fully engage with the state legislature.” The goal is to let the rural areas govern themselves in ways more suited to their needs, while the wealthy coastal regions do the same. (The New California movement already has chapters in 34 counties, according to its website.)

I’ll have to check the site out and see what’s going on, but they definitely sound like play-by-the-rule conservatives. That’s admirable, but don’t look for them to be successful. The Organized Left would never give up all that prime farmland and road access to the other states. They want all of California and, eventually, all fifty states.

But if it were to come true, would I move there? Probably not. My long-term goal is to be near members of my family, most of whom live in the Southwest and the South.

I am keeping an eye on what happens with this, however. Nothing wrong with trying.

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

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Finally might I suggest my book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer makes an excellent Gift.

Every 20 years or so, America comes down with a serious case of political correctivitis.

I’m old enough to remember the first PC outbreak in the 1970s, when the tide of ’60s radicalism washed against the shore of Establishment America. Another epidemic spread in the early 1990s, and we’re in the midst of the third – and most serious – eruption now. We survived the first two flare-ups relatively intact, and I’m hoping Donald Trump can get us through the third.

Among the lasting changes of the first PC wave were affirmative action, which initially targeted blacks until women demanded to get into the action, and the beginnings of identity politics (which activists from other groups viewed as a way to get a piece of the affirmative action bonanza).

Also important was how feminists changed the language, starting by introducing three new words: sexist, sexism and Ms. Inflamed by Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinam and company, female activists worked to rid the English language of words they deemed sexist. Goodbye, policeman, mailman and fireman. Hello, police officer, letter carrier and firefighter.

Fortunately, other substitutes never really took hold (except in Democrat quarters). Despite their best efforts, few normal people really wanted to change “chairman” to “chairperson” or “spokesman” to “spokesperson.” A tidy solution was to substitute “-woman” for “-man” on a case-by-case basis.

Steinem was extraordinarily successful with the creation of “Ms.” (the courtesy title, not the magazine). She was offended that all men were simply addressed by “Mr.,” while women’s titles – “Mrs.” and “Miss” – were based on their marital status. “Ms.” thus leveled the gender playing field.

(This caused problems for me and other reporters. Many newspaper editors were slow to approve the new courtesy title, which put us in the embarrassing position of asking females sources who used “Ms.” whether they were married. Most publications eventually solved that dilemma by dropping all courtesy titles and referring to women only by their last names on second reference.)

After digesting all these changes, great and small, America experienced a new outbreak of PC in the 1990s, when the seeds of identity politics planted a generation earlier sprouted into saplings. The bastions of the Old Order who had faced the first wave were giving way to new people whose beliefs were shaped in the ’70s. Their faith in traditions was shaky, and they were more willing to compromise with advocates of identity politics. This was when the Left and the Right alike began using the term “politically correct.”

Affirmative action had been dealt serious setbacks in the courts, so activists began using “diversity” as the reason for pushing racial and sex-based quotas into all aspects of society, from the workplace to the schools. As today, diversity meant only racial, sexual and religious differences; diversity of political thought was scorned.

I came upon this first-hand when local school officials put out a call for citizens to serve on several advisory boards, including a new committee to foster diversity. That struck a chord with concerned residents – 45 people, more than half of them men, showed up for the diversity committee’s organizational meeting. The chairwoman, amazed by the turnout, started asking crowd members why they were there.

One by one, each man and most of the women said they wanted to be on the committee to make sure the schools emphasized the similarities among students, not the differences. Halfway through her questioning, the chairwoman said the committee’s goal was to help students embrace their distinctions, not stress what they shared in common. At that point, all the men except me and most of the women stood up and left.

I stayed on, figuring the rump committee needed at least one voice of reason. After listening to and speaking out against schemes ranging from silly to gobsmackingly stupid, I gave up after six meetings. Luckily for my children, the plans they discussed never went into effect. (Perhaps that happened because I ran into a school board member, who was aghast when I told him what the committee was up to.)

So here we are, struggling through a third PC epidemic. Times never looked bleaker under Barack Obama, and I would have given up hope under a Hillary Clinton presidency. Trump’s refusal to buckle under to political correctness certainly gave him a boost in 2016, and he could put a big dent into PC culture if he wins a second term.

I have just one tip for The Donald: Fight your foes through your policies, not your tweets.


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