Jon Tron vs Goop, Proving Christ, 9/11 vs Corona, Biden vs Trump, and nothing Newsworthy here: Under the Fedora

On Easter Sunday my son put on a video of the Internet comedian JonTron with his latest takedown of Gwenith Paltrow and her Goop people.

It was a hilarious takedown of what’s pretty much a bunch of people being grifted. There is a reason why he has 6.6 mil followers

The funniest thing about this? I’ll wager the vast majority of the people featured in this video would consider belief in Christianity foolishness.


Speaking of Christianity there was a great piece at Hillfaith linked by Instapundit with six proofs of the resurrection several of which I never thought of such as

The first witnesses to the empty tomb and the living Jesus were women: It’s a sad reality, but women only counted as half as reliable witnesses as men. So the fact all four of the Gospels present women as the first witnesses to the Risen Jesus is a strong indicator Matthew, Mark, Luke and John reported the facts, not what they thought would be the most credible claims

I should have thought of this myself but my favorite proof of the accuracy of scripture is one I used many years ago at my 1st personal blog:

Now lets look at the evidence. I am going to lean on Will Durant:

He first cites Josephus circa 93 AD and points out that the praise given to Jesus by a person out to please both Jews and Romans is a tad suspect but the big gun comes from a 1st man named Thallus.

Lets Jump to the Gospel of Matthew briefly:

From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “This one is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink. But the rest said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.” But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit. Matt 27:45-50

Now Thallus the pagan isn’t going to put up with this. About 50 AD he states that the darkness is a purely natural phenomenon and just a coincidence.

Durant put this argument in its modern perspective:

the argument took the existence of Christ for granted. The denial of that existence seems never to have occurred even to the bitterest gentile or Jewish opponents of nascent Christianity.

And remember that particular fragment to the best of our knowledge predates the Gospel of Matthew that it unintentionally collaborates by two decades. The pagan provides the proof. Talk about working in mysterious ways.

You should really read the whole thing;


There are many candidates for some of the lamest arguments on twitter but this one is big

The answer to this is so obvious that it was almost a waste of time to tweet it.

Of course there is the possibility that this is a lab virus released accidentally in that case there is a murder to be upset at, but I’m sure he’d consider that racist.


As I mentioned during my midnight livestream podcast (available here) had a lot of fun with people insisting that Trump is a fool and this corona virus conferences are hurting him who are oddly not willing to bet $500 bucks and give me points to back up their beliefs. Apparently “experts” and those who don’t even like try know why:

Wallace noted, “In all of our [Fox News] polls for months, Biden had an 8-9 point lead, and that’s now gone. It’s dead even.” He continued:

It seems to me as this virus goes on, that instead of this being a choice between the president and Joe Biden, as a lot of elections are, I think that this election is going to end up being a referendum on President Trump and the handling of the coronavirus.

As we get into September and October after Labor Day, I think people are going to make a judgment, and they’ll understand, the president didn’t create the virus, so I think they’re going to be fair-minded about it. Do they think he handled the health crisis well? Do they think he handled the economic crisis well?

If they do, I don’t see how he gets beat. If they don’t, I don’t see how he could win.

And that’s not even taking into account that the polls have been undercounting Trump supporters from day 1


Finally, in a time of social distancing here is a story that surprised me:

 Around 400 people were at a party at an East Bakersfield apartment complex when dozens of shots rang out, wounding six people early Saturday morning, according to the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

Based on evidenced recovered at the scene, KCSO says, it appears at least one partygoer fired back at the suspects in a white sedan that fled the scene. Officials said nearly 100 empty shell casings of multiple calibers were recovered at the scene in the 3500 block of Pioneer Drive.

Even at a time of social distancing 400 at a party in an apartment complex is a lot. You would think that a story like this during social distancing time would be front page news everywhere but I suspect it will not be because of this line:

The suspects were only described by deputies as four black males, in a white sedan.

Now I could be wrong, we might see this as a lead everywhere and see the Governor of California condemn the lack of social distancing here, but I suspect I’d have a harder time finding a taker for a $10 bet on this than I have for the Biden election one.

My Favorite Screwtape Quote, Journalists and #learntomanufacture

If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that I like to quote the C.S. Lewis Class The Screwtape letters which is a series of letters from a senior tempter in hell, Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood who is assigned to tempt and help damn a particular Englishman during 1939 and 1940.

Of all the quotes I’ve used from the 39 various letters the one I’ve used most often comes from a letter excoriating Screwtape for allowing his “patient” an actual pleasure that resulted in repentance.

The characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality. Thus if you had been trying to damn your man by the Romantic method…you would try to protect him at all costs from any real pain; because, of course, five minutes’ genuine toothache would reveal the romantic sorrows for the nonsense they were and unmask your whole stratagem.

C.S. Lewis Screwtape 13

This has been the great reality of that our current situation has brought us. What has become rapidly apparent is that items that were considered critical for anyone of virtue, from discarding plastic bags and plastic straws to using the right pronouns are nothing compared to stocking shelves, and delivering food, to wit:

“We went from being nobodies to essential workers,” said Chad Montgomery, also a driver with Challenger Motor Freight. “I’ve never felt appreciated in my job until now. A lot of people don’t realize it takes a truck to get stuff on shelves. If it wasn’t for a truck driver, you would have nothing.”

via ace who likely already knew this, but a lot of people, particuarly those in elite media, either in news or entertainment do not grasp that while we can live without media reports or new movies, we can’t live without the food and goods the truckers deliver.

Nothing illustrates this better than journalists who when nuts when Mike Lindell of My Pillow took the podium at the president’s latest presser. Our media betters all had shocked reactions, great quips and clever one liners to deploy at his expense.

What could he offer that was more important than that? Only a factory being retooled to create 50,000 N95 masks a day that the country needs desperately right now.

The reality that is this crisis has illustrated what’s real and what isn’t to a culture that had forgotten.

So to our media and entertainment friends who consider themselves so vital I have some suggestions for you via hashtags

  1. #learntotruck
  2. #learntofarm
  3. #learntomanufacture
  4. #learntostock

When you can do those things, then you’ll be as important as a truck driver or a farmer or a grocery store worker or maybe if you’re very lucky someday, the MyPillow guy.

Cows, Trees, Taps, Chocolate & Wuhan/Corona Virus Update

Yesterday I had to get up early to take my son who is going to be on 11 straight days at Market Basket to work for 6:30 so I spun down to church for the 7 AM mass where I found out that that mass and the 8 AM mass would be the last in Fitchburg for a while (so I stayed for both) and swung by Market Basket.

I didn’t need milk so I didn’t go in that aisle but they had very little bottled water and a bit of toilet paper, the shelves were not full but you could get it. I bought a two liter bottle of diet Sunkist soda, a pair of cooked chicken breasts and a package of Hershey chocolates.

I really don’t understand the hoarding of Milk, Water and Toilet Paper

Four important facts

  • To the best of my knowledge Cows are still giving milk and there is no prospect of the Corona/Wuhan virus spreading to cows and stopping them from doing so. There is no prospect of the country’s milk supply to disappear.
  • Two thousand years ago the Romans were big on aqueducts that brought fresh flowing water to the cities. Today we not only have that capability in terms of indoor plumbing as standard equipment in homes and apartments, but we have waste water treatment plants to make sure said water is safe. To my knowledge the Corona/Wuhan virus has not affected either the water supplies or the faucets in peoples houses.
  • Unless there is a medical development I’m unaware of there is no evidence that the Corona / Wuhan virus has affected trees or saw blades or papermills. Furthermore thanks to industry tree farming there is an abundant supply of trees to make sure that we can make all the toilet paper we want.
  • Gas prices are dropping like a rock and Truckers continue to be on the road so the ability to transport milk, bottled water and toilet has not been impeded in the least.

These are all reasons not to hoard Milk, Water or Toilet Paper but if they are not enough to stop you from panic let me add one more fact.

I was able to buy chocolate today.

Now chocolate is a wonderful thing but when it comes down to it, it’s not a necessity. For most of human history chocolate was not available and in the last two thousand years I suspect more human have spent their lives without chocolate than with.

Yet the chocolate supply remains unimpeaded.

When I see supermarkets without chocolate and other items that are not vital THEN I’ll start thinking, hey maybe I should be worried.

But as long as I see Chocolate bunnies near the checkout and pastries galore in the Market Basket bakery I think I’ll decline to worry about where my next roll of toilet paper is coming from…and you should too.

Why Donald Trump Courts Black Americans

Setting the captives free

by baldilocks

A guy I follow on Twitter pointed out something that has been in the back of my mind ever since 2016 when Donald Trump asked black Americans what we had to lose by supporting him in his presidential bid.

Over 90% of black voters voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but so what? Black people are only 13% of the US population.

(By the way, over 92 million eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 presidential election! I bet that number will be smaller this year.)

The point is that Donald Trump did not need black voters to win in 2016 and does not need us this year. So why does he help and support black Americans? Why does he want us on the Trump Train?

There was a lot of predictable race-baiting last week when President Trump pardoned Bernard Kerik, Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. and granted clemency to Rod Blagojevich. All three are white men and as their stories on were all the talk on Twitter, Chelsea Handler said this.

When people have a caricature formed in their minds, they are unable to see solid reality right in front of their faces. Social Media exacerbates this phenomenon because people want to be part of that which seems popular. Conversely, people hate to be contradicted and hate being wrong – although both happen all the time.  I remember the first time someone tried to explicitly shame me for predicting something that didn’t pan out.

“I was wrong.”
“YOU WERE WRONG! Aren’t you ashamed?”
“Why should I be ashamed of being wrong? I’m not God; therefore, I make mistakes.”

Yes, it really happened like that.

Anyway, the reality is that President Trump pardoned and granted clemency to many others. And many of these others are black.

Here’s a sample.

Angela Stanton-King

When best-selling author and BET reality TV star Angela Stanton-King received word on Tuesday that President Trump had just granted her a full pardon, she was literally overcome.

“I just started hyperventilating right at the airport,” she told Newsmax. “I was just crying like a baby. People thought someone had died.” (…)

For Stanton-King, the pardon represented another amazing chapter in her life’s extraordinary  journey. After surviving a troubled childhood involving abuse, she got caught up in a stolen vehicle ring, and received a prison sentence. She was released in 2005.

“When I was released from prison 15 years ago,” she told Newsmax in an exclusive interview, “I was given a $25 check and a bus ticket and told to start my life over.

“I came home to four children, and I came home to two tombstones,” she said. “My mother was in one and my grandmother was in the other. (…)

Stanton-King defied the odds. She went on to write a best-selling book about her journey, Life of a Real Housewife. The book launched her career as a publishing entrepreneur, and that led to a big role in a BET reality TV show. She also founded the American King Foundation, a nonprofit focused on criminal-justice reform and reuniting families that have been separated by mass incarceration.

In the comments to Handler’s Tweet, many others point to the error in her implication, but it’s a safe bet that she will block it all out and pretend that it didn’t happen all the way up to the next time she decides to point the racism finger at the president or at conservatives in general. She is what she is. Like-minded politicos and media professionals will do the same.

President Trump knows this, but he still keeps reaching out to fellow Americans who are black. Why? I think I have an answer.

What do all of these newly-freed former prisoners – white, black, brown, etc. – have in common besides being mostly non-violent offenders? It’s this: they all hit bottom and are determined to climb back up; they are intent on becoming better people than the persons they were. More often than not, someone saw their efforts and gave them a hand up.

They are all looking to improve themselves the right way.

That’s a very American trait which President Trump appreciates. If you ask me, he doesn’t care whether or not any of these people vote for him – many of them probably won’t be able to anyway.

What he is doing: using his power and authority to make it easier for the repentant to keep walking in the right direction instead of reverting to their old selves and old lives.

He’s inviting all of them – great and small — to be a part of the American Dream, their birthright. He’s inviting them to rebuild their lives and do their small part in making America great again.

Black, white, brown, red, yellow, they already lost the most precious thing they had to lose: freedom. Now they have it back and the president is just trying to help them hold onto it.

Do I think that the percentage of black American voters who vote for Donald Trump in 2020 will be larger than in 2016? Probably, but not by much.

Then again, I could be wrong.

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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Unfinished Business Under the Fedora: The Democrats Media Masters, J-Lo and Biology, Female Doctors Everywhere, Yockey in Iowa and Mookie over LA

Often events overtake thoughts on items so here are a few things I would have liked to have gotten out from Under My Fedora a bit earlier.

Don Surber, one of the must reads on the net notes that the media have a lot to answer for in terms of the results of impeachment and he’s right in the sense that the media kept pushing all this forward in the belief that it would hurt the president That some in the Democrat leadership and others in the field knew this to be the case was not enough to stop them.

For years I’ve thought the media was at the Democrats beck and call, now I’m wondering if it’s the other way around.


There was a lot of fuss about J-Lo’s performance at the Superbowl and the whole Pole Dancing business, I think life might be a lot easier if we all acknowledged two basic things.

Men like women and are biologically designed to desire them, the more sexually provocative they are the more noticeable they become to men’s eyes. That the actual norm, and it is the cultural restraints that our friends off the left from religion to chivalry that teaches a man to be a gentlemanly and show restraint and to respect the “no” when a woman gives it

Women are also biologically designed to rival each other for said notice of men and said biology and rivalry does not end when a woman is in her 50’s. and when you spend a lifetime making a living off the “male gaze” you certainly aren’t going to let a younger woman outdo you in that measure.

Those same civilizing impulses that acted upon men also acted upon women to be very selective when using that biological power which gives power to a women to improve a man to the point where he is a suitable mate. When our culture abandoned those civilizing tools they abandoned those restraints which ironically is what has actually objectified women.

The sooner these things facts that have centuries of experience developing the better off we will be as a society.


If you missed Doctor Who this week as I have for the last several years you would have found that the 1st female Doctor (played by Jodie Whitaker) was joined by the 1st Black Female Doctor (played by Jo Martin).

There are many issues with this development, from the rewriting of the Doctor Who Canon of fifty plus years to the fact that they will need to take a further woke step to satisfy the Social Justice Warriors whose demands can never be fully me met shall we see the 1st trans woman doctor played by Jessica Yaniv later this season perhaps?

But the issue that is biggest for the current Doctor Who franchise is that according to my oldest son who is still occasionally watching the series not only was the 1st black female Doctor (played by Jo Martin) clearly recognizable as “the doctor” in terms of tone and character unlike the 1st female doctor (played by Jodie Whitaker) to my son, a lifelong Doctor who man fan but she apparently the 1st black female Doctor (played by Jo Martin) completely out acted the 1st female Doctor (played by Jodie Whitaker) to the point where it was according to my son the wrong person was the 1st female Doctor and it wasn’t close.

Oh and for the record the 1st female doctor was in fact Joanna Lumley

FYI My apologies to the good folks at Nerdrotic for stealing his “1st female / Black female Doctor” meme.


Completely missed this tidbit from Stacy McCain concerning old friend Cynthia Yockey. Ten years ago I met the Conservative Lesbian at CPAC and she told me of how she had been rejected and marginalized by gay friend while embraced by conservatives.

Cynthia ten years later:

Speaking of conservatives, my friend Cynthia Yockey caucused for Trump last night. Yes, there was a Republican caucus in Iowa, which Trump obviously won. Cynthia reports that (a) she was drafted to be a delegate to the county GOP convention in March, (b) elected to the platform committee, (c) her plank on transgender issues was unanimously adopted, and (d) “the passionate nominating speech for Trump that opened our caucus was given by an immigrant from India who became a citizen in 2008.”

I’m very happy for Cynthia who is a fine person but I’m even happier for the Iowa GOP & the President who are damn lucky to have her.


Finally in the Midst of all this political news the Boston Red Sox have Traded Away Mookie Betts arguably next to Mike Trout the best outfielder/player in the game along with Starter David Price for a pair of young players. For myself I would have waited till May to see if we had a chance to contend but given that Betts didn’t want to resign here getting something for a guy who hits for power & average, steals bases, has a rocket arm and incredible outfield range is a lot better than getting nothing for him, not to mention the huge savings from getting rid of David Price’s contract.

As for the Dodgers I don’t care if every team in the league has a complete list of every sign you have, if you can’t win the series with the addition of Price still a good pitcher and Betts to that already formidable team you’re just never going to do it and if you can sign Mookie to a long term deal than your team might truly become a Dynasty.

Either way enjoy it, he’s a pleasure to watch.

Justice Thomas Doc — Not on Netflix

Ginny and Clarence Thomas

by baldilocks

J.J. Sefton of Ace of Spades HQ reviews the new Clarence Thomas documentary.

Besides President Trump, arguably one of the most transformative figures to emerge onto the American political landscape in half a century is Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas. Yet, it’s not his stellar legal mind, reflected in scores of brilliant opinions he has penned over the course of his nearly 29-year career at the highest court in the land that earns for him that status. Sadly, it is merely for the fact the he is a black man who, after coming of age in the repressive Democrat Deep South and even embracing the black radicalism of the late 60s ultimately had the scales fall from his eyes and dared reject the political Democrat-Left plantation. But when he was nominated to take the seat vacated by Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court that he became not only their worst nightmare, but an existential threat.

Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words, a new documentary slated for release at the end of the month, is a powerful journey back in time, told mostly by Thomas in his own words, and in some segments by his remarkable wife Ginny and mentor and champion, former Senator John Danforth

I’ve always admired Justice Thomas as do most who have read his autobiography My Grandfather’s Son: A Memoir. By the way, in the book a reader can find yet another display of the character defects of one Joseph Biden.

And I remember Barack Obama’s public and pointless insult toward Thomas during one of the 2008 presidential debates.

Pastor Rick Warren asked each Presidential candidate which Justices he would not have nominated. Mr. McCain said, “with all due respect” the four most liberal sitting Justices because of his different judicial philosophy.

Mr. Obama took a lower road, replying first that “that’s a good one,” and then adding that “I would not have nominated Clarence Thomas. I don’t think that he, I don’t think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation. Setting aside the fact that I profoundly disagree with his interpretation of a lot of the Constitution.” The Democrat added that he also wouldn’t have appointed Antonin Scalia, and perhaps not John Roberts, though he assured the audience that at least they were smart enough for the job.

The nerve of some people. It was like a donkey trying to squash an elephant.

Oh wait …

Anyway, read the entire review. I plan on seeing the documentary when it gets here on the 31st.

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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Missing Mike the Butcher

Yesterday Mike Romano the owner of the last butcher shop in Fitchburg that has been run by his family for 100 years died after a short but violent bout with cancer at the age of 69.

Mike was in the shop every day. Six days a week open and Monday’s doing his bookkeeping except for the week of Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Years when he would close on the holiday and open on Monday to make up for it. He was a fixture of the city. For decades when you walked into Romano’s Market you saw Mike fist with his father and uncle and then later with his sons. He was of the old school, he worked hard, did his job well, didn’t whine, didn’t complain and took care of customers.

I first wrote about Mike after seeing a post at Instapundit comparing sausage making and laws. His piece prompted this email which was the 1st time I was mentioned at Instapundit:

UPDATE: How bad have things gotten? Bad enough that when you compare journalism to sausage-making, people write in to defend sausage-makers! Reader Peter Ingemi writes:

I live 7 doors down from a butcher shop that has been in the neighborhood and one particular family for 100 years. A couple of months ago when I walked in and was making my order I noticed Mike (the butcher) cutting and cubing pork. He seemed to be cutting an awful lot of it, I didn’t see a special on the board so I asked about it.

He reminded me it was Wednesday and that is the day he made all of the different sausages he makes (about a half dozen types not counting chicken and kielbasa) I stood there and watched him making sausages and realized that the old saying about Sausages no matter how true it might be for a plant or maybe another butcher shop it wasn’t true at Romano’s. (I can’t speak for other local butchers but I would bet good money that this is true for other family butcher shops too.)

I think Mike and the other local butchers deserve a caveat.

So noted.

Shortly afterwards Mike let me film him making sausage it turned into an in depth look at an old fashioned neighborhood family business

part 2

Part 3

part 4

part 5

part 6

There is no part 7 or if there is I don’t know what happened to it, here is part 8

Part 9

Part 10

I filmed there several other times. like the day before Thanksgiving one year

Kaite is only there occasionally these days, Michelle is now 29 and still works there part time in fact she cut the steak I bought there Wednesday. Harold has been dead for a few years. Mike’s Son Josh the teacher is now the Principal of school he was at and left the service as a Major. His other son Todd from the videos is still in sales but is regularly at the shop

I have no idea what the future of the Butcher shop will be as I can’t imagine going anywhere else after almost three decades of walking down the street for my meats but even if it continues it’s going to be an odd thing walking in there and not seeing Mike anymore but I’m glad that I had the chance to shoot these videos and others so I and others can remember him by.

Mike was a good man, and if he treated his other customers half as good as he treated me and mine over the years he will be sorely missed as a person can be.

Update: Corrected his age, Mike was 69 would have been 70 this year. I should mention that if you walked into Romano’s over the last few years, particularly during the holiday season or the summer months you were very likely to be waited on by one of Mike’s many grandchildren which makes seven generations of Romano’s at this business.

Here is his Obit from the Sentinel & Enterprise this jumped out at me:

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Mike’s name to the Lunenburg Fire and Rescue, 655 Mass Avenue, Lunenburg, MA 01462 or Fitchburg Fire Fighters Relief Fund, 33 North Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420. or may be left at the funeral home.

The firestations would always come down for a big order on a regular basis

thought I’d include one more video of his sons talking during the pink slime business:

That Such Men Lived

At the Doris Miller Memorial in Miller’s native Waco, Texas.

by baldilocks

Doris “Dorie” Miller has always been my favorite Pearl Harbor hero. Is it because he was black? Partially.

Simply, it’s impossible to separate his race from his heroism, considering that the US. Military was segregated back then, that black servicemen and women were mostly assigned to segregated units, and that most were tasked with servant and “menial” jobs. Miller, himself, was a cook — Messman Third Class and Ship’s Cook Third class — aboard the USS West Virginia. Way back when I was in kindergarten, he was the first war hero to enter into my consciousness.

Miller was the recipient of the Navy Cross – at that time, the third highest award behind the Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal  — for the following:

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Miller was doing laundry below decks on the USS West Virginia. When the alarm called the ship’s crew to battle stations, Miller headed a gun  magazine amidships [sic]. A torpedo had damaged the magazine, so the physically strong Miller began carrying the wounded to safety. Among those he attended to was the ship’s commander, Capt. Mervyn Bennion, who was mortally wounded. Miller then manned a .50-calibre antiaircraft gun, for which he had no training, and continued firing on the enemy until he ran out of ammunition and received the order to abandon ship.

Admiral Chester Nimitz himself pinned the Navy Cross to the young man’s chest. Miller died in 1943 when his subsequent ship, the USS Liscome Bay, was sunk by the Japanese. He was 24.

There was a Navy destroyer escort/frigate named in Miller’s honor – the USS Miller, service date 1973 to 1991.

What I love about Doris Miller’s existence is that the man was here for only a short time and was merely playing the cards that life dealt him when he performed the action that will long outlive him. When the challenge came, he stepped to it and met it — something intrinsic in heroes and heroism.

And this may seem like a change of topic, but it isn’t. Back when Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV; ironically) passed away in 2010, I remembered writing — prior to his passing — about his actions during WWII:

Byrd refused to serve in World War Two due to blacks being a part of the force, even in their lowly status before the desegregation of the US Armed Forces in 1948.  I cited that here using Wiki, but the reference has been cleaned up.

If, by some chance Byrd got to go to Heaven, I hope he gets to be Dorie Miller’s butler.

Whoever Miller’s Heavenly Cook and Messman is, I’m sure he’s just happy to be there serving a great man and is doing so with a smile.

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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American Success Stories What Makes America Great: Revisited: Paulo from Brazil Two years later

A while back I had an occasional series on youtube called American Success Stories when I talked to and interview the people who had worked and succeeded in America. One of those I talked to was Paulo from Brazil

I’m also sure his young wife and kids would like to see more of him nor do I doubt that his kids might have enjoyed it if this Sunday morning he had been at home during this labor day weekend rather than putting up siding early in the morning.
But when those kids are 18, Paulo’s hard work today will almost certainly mean he’ll have the assets to send them to college if they wish, or if they are smart enough to follow in his footsteps might be in a position to have their dad co-sign for their first home to fix up or at least know how to fix anything in sight. And I suspect that if he has a daughter who wants a big wedding someday, the willingness to be hard at work on a Holiday weekend will be the reason he can afford to pay for one or two or more.

Unfortunately I kept missing Paulo after the house was completed but this weekend I ran into him as he was doing some touch up maintenance and he had a few minutes to spare to speak with me

The house has been rented but Paulo has not slowed down one bit expect to take the time to cut his beard off. He continues to work hard and notes that there is plenty of work out there but a lot of the younger people don’t want a job, they just want the money without the work that comes with it.

Paulo is now in his early 30’s and it’s very likely that by the time he is 40 and thanks to his hard work he will be living a whole lot more comfortably than a lot of the people who took hundreds of thousands of dollars in college loans for useless degrees in cultural studies.

He will have real property and real skills to show for his investment of time and money. He is an object lesson for any teenager thinking of what to do with his future.

FYI if you want to see the before videos of the house, here they are

American Success Stories/What Makes America Great: Paulo

Sunday Sept 3rd 7:54 am

This morning when I woke up I was going to write about the exchange between the Daily Caller and Stacy McCain concerning Saturday’s Event in Leominster (advance tickets still available here) so I grabbed my laptop and heading downstairs so as not to disturb my sleeping with I planted myself on he couch that Stacy would most likely be crashing on and looking out the window noticed a group of men getting siding up on the house next door.

One would think the early morning hammering would have woken me (or her) but over the last two months we have become accustomed to the sounds of Hammers generators, and saws as we’ve watched the house next door slowly and gradually be transformed.

The Author is this transformation is a 29-year-old young man named Paulo who came here as a teen from Brazil who has tirelessly been working to gut and redo the house inside and out since purchasing that foreclosed property to get it ready for a large family of tenants that he has lined up to put there.

Now I had hoped to buy that house for myself for my oldest son or co-sign with him (my finances might be thin these days but my credit score is close to 800)  who will be needing a new place soon but Paulo got there first.  Anyone watching him in action since he first turned up in late May should not be surprised that he got anywhere first.  His whole attitude has been Horatio Nelson’s “Lose not a moment.”

Every single day I’ve watched him in that house, I’ve seen long dumpster after dumpster filled as old carpet, old wood, old appliances continue to be stripped away.  I’ve come home to the sound of an electric generator as he’s worked late into to the night, usually alone, sometimes with a team, to get things done and the whole neighborhood has seen the transformation as the abandoned and overgrown house that began its life as a tiny company house for workers who had come from Finland or Sicily back in the 19th century when Fitchburg was industrial hub to a more modern and an attractive home that despite the small plot of land that it sits on will to fit a family of six by November if Paulo’s plans work out.

This week he took a few minutes away from his work to talk to me about his work on Camera:

I can’t help think as I watch Paulo in action that I’m seeing a young version of my Father. Dad had left school at 13 to work during the depression getting every hour he could in local factories, picking up every hour he could, doing the dirty jobs that needed to be done and joining various building crews learning how to build. In 1942 during World War 2 he entered the Navy as a ship’s carpenter and by the time the war had ended left as a chief petty officer. And at Paulo’s age he was doing pretty much the same thing, building or fixing small houses with his brother-in-law until he bought a bar called the Mohawk Club in Shirley and went into the restaurant/hospitality business. The two houses I lived in from the day I was born to the day I got married were built by him and when I watch Paulo in action I can’t help but think that if I had in my youth been more interested in my father’s skills and less interested in books and history that might be me next door fixing up that house for my son (and I’m sure DaWife watching Paulo hard at work fixing things might have liked it if her husband was a quarter as handy as the young fellow next door with a hammer as he is with a keyboard.)

But while I didn’t recognize the advantages of my Father’s way in my youth with the benefit of years I see the wonder of what’s going on. A young man born half a world away coming to America, earning and honing a skill over a decade and sacrificing hour after hour to get the seed money to get a mortgage to buy a beat up house, spending 70 hours or more a week, days night and weekends to get it to a point where he can get it in a good enough condition to rent it out for enough to cover that mortgage and his expenses and start the whole process again.

To be sure there are a lot of risks. There is always the possibility of getting problem tenants who trash a house that you might have to evict if they decide not to pay. Furthermore all of this involves laying out money for wood, and materials out front, not to mention the various legal hoops involved in buying a house and getting permits or construction. Finally there is a lot of hard labor involved. A single accident could stop things cold and if it does the bank or banks that hold the mortgages on the property will still expect their payments on time each month.

I’m also sure his young wife and kids would like to see more of him nor do I doubt that his kids might have enjoyed it if this Sunday morning he had been at home during this labor day weekend rather than putting up siding early in the morning.

But when those kids are 18, Paulo’s hard work today will almost certainly mean he’ll have the assets to send them to college if they wish, or if they are smart enough to follow in his footsteps might be in a position to have their dad co-sign for their first home to fix up or at least know how to fix anything in sight. And I suspect that if he has a daughter who wants a big wedding someday, the willingness to be hard at work on a Holiday weekend will be the reason he can afford to pay for one or two or more.

Put simply Paulo is what makes America great, but he’s also a symptom of the greatness OF America which provides a system by which a person can freely reap the benefits of their labor without the heavy hand of the state to smother them or the outstretched hand of the powerful or the connected demanding their cut. A system under which a person can, if they are willing to take the risks and regardless of race or class make more of themselves then they ever could elsewhere.

Paulo will likely never be as rich or as famous as the president but he is no less an American success story for it.

Do you know of an American success story that you’d like me to share with my readers and possibly include in a future book on the subject? Drop me a line and if I can get to where you are I’d be delighted to learn it and tell it.

Update: Paulo rather than Paolo should have stuck with my first instict


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