Sunday, February 22, 2009

news flash: possible importance of fathers acknowledged

Hard to believe in this day and age, I know. But it's true! A potential change in the law shows that Kentucky lawmakers have at least more sense than a lot of their counterparts at the state and federal levels. Granted, that's not saying anything at all these days, but hey, at least a government could actually be getting something right for a change. If the bill passes, then more fathers could actually get to know and be involved in the lives of their children. What a novel concept! And one that seems just a few years overdue given the sad, sad state of our society (which I've addressed recently here). Unfortunately such an obviously needed legal change didn't even pass the committee vote the first time, so it's too early to suddenly declare that the state legislature as a whole is of sufficient intelligence to understand that a biological father's rights actually matter.

Of course, lest I get too excited about being a resident of said state, one could be quick to point out that the law is completely screwed up in its current form--and they'd be right. But a step in the right direction, however small, is more than I've come to expect out of pretty much any jurisdiction these days. So this counts as another item on the list of reasons to be glad my house is in Kentucky and not some wildly twisted state like, ahem, other states I've been spending time in recently.

HT: Glenn Sacks

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"this is generational theft"

So says the Arizona Republic concerning...guess. Bernard Chapin has a good rundown of the massive damage the federal government has just dealt to the citizens trapped within its domain. As he says, nothing in life is free. Not even a handout from the feds.

Quoth Mr. Chapin: "Is our country done? Probably." Probably?

Friday, February 20, 2009

another consequence of being rich

...the more obvious one being the privilege of paying for not only your own needs but those of others lazier than yourself, of course, thanks to the wealth redistribution program that is the U.S. government. And not only must one pay taxes, but nowadays our friendly government deems that mere guilt by association should carry real consequences as well. For instance, it sure sucks to be Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady these days. Seems that they'll get the opportunity to live like they're dirt poor (minus the government handouts) for a few days. I guess I should be glad I don't have so much money that I'm at risk of getting all my assets frozen because some of it is sitting in the wrong place. There's something to be said for actually knowing where your money is.

As for Damon and Nady, I'd feel sorry for them if they didn't play for the Yankees.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the wisdom of gamaliel

Been listening to Acts during the work commute recently* and keep coming across one of those passages that just hits home. I know there are lots of more popular and well-known verses that hit on that aspect of God's power working through our methods and such, but I am struck by Gamaliel's words in 5:35-39 every time I hear them. The guy had uncommon wisdom. Observe Acts 5:33-40, which takes place during one of the many times the apostles were dragged before some or other council for spreading the gospel, and just after Peter had worn out his welcome in the councilors' presence.

When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. [emphasis added]

That central theme still holds true as much now as it did then. I'm a big believer in the idea that truth will eventually be known by all, no matter how much it is suppressed or avoided at the present. So why worry when people scoff at you, slander you, try to embarrass you, or otherwise attempt to make your life less pleasant by employing less-than-honorable tactics? If they're right then you're simply getting your due, regardless of how the messenger delivers it. But if they're wrong, then they're opposing truth, and in doing so they're opposing God. They'll get their reward in full; whether or not we're able to give it or be there to see them receive it is of no consequence.

Especially these days (in politics but elsewhere too), I often hear mumbles and gripes to the effect that folks actually hope this or that action or group or cause or whathaveyou fails. Not hoping for their own success, I mean, but more hoping that the other side falls flat. I suspect this is more for their own self-interest than their desire to really see people either helped somehow or thrown into misery, and so once again, the desire to be seen as having been "right all along" trumps the desire to actually be righteous and work for good. But I can't help but wonder, why the wasted effort hoping for failure on the part of others? Just strive for what's right and leave it at that.

Gamaliel understood this I think. If a plan ultimately goes against the laws of the world (i.e. God's law) then it will ultimately fail; it's just a matter of how delayed and how spectacular the failure will be. But if a plan is based in truth and carried out in accordance with that truth, then it will ultimately succeed. This will always hold, regardless of who among us is on what side and who makes the most noise, or even which side appears for a moment to be "right" or victorious. In the end it makes no difference. Truth will find its way through anything. And so we ought to stick to our principles and do our best to be on the side of truth at all times, and not simply be supporting or opposing something for the sake of self-interest.

I guess the point is, a lot of this posturing we see around us is so frackin' pointless. What, are people going to fool God and the rest of the world both? Fat chance. Let them carry on and sow their own harvest. Life has a funny way of rewarding behavior in kind, you know. Methinks we're better off letting truth run its course then getting worked up about slights against us, recognition not credited to us, arrogance around us, etc. Such reactions just get in the way of living life the way it ought to be lived.

* I've found that listening to Scripture is a good way to pass the time if traffic gets tough, and it's not so much "wasted" time then. (It hasn't yet helped much with my disposition toward road rage, but hopefully that'll come with time.) Unfortunately, my attention span being what it is--that is to say, nonexistent--I'm not able to glean a lot by just listening to something without reading it or writing it as well. But I figure if I listen to the same few chapters a few times during the week, I'll come away with more than I started with at least.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

bluegrass festival

Been at the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival all weekend, so I guess a short rundown of sorts is in order. Now I'd never been to one of these here bluegrass festivals before, so I didn't know exactly what to expect. I like bluegrass but I don't actually listen to it much or follow it, so this whole thing was a first for me. I was quite surprised at how good this one was though. It also had a lot of big-time bands, which I didn't expect for a New England bluegrass show. Then again, why would anyone really expect to see a bluegrass show in New England of all places to begin with? So I guess that alone would have been surprising enough.

There was a lot going on, but I spent almost all of my time at the main stage watching the bands--about 2.5 days worth of all bluegrass music, all the time. (Literally, the informal picking starts in the hotel Thursday night and runs all day and all night for the festival, and I'm sure there are some stragglers still there now, so if one was staying in the hotel he could hear bluegrass picking at any hour day or night.) Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about! I suppose an unfortunate side is that I didn't take any steps to move from being an aspiring mandolin player to an actual mandolin player, despite having owned a mandolin for a few years now. But my goal now is to finally dedicate enough time to it to return next year knowing enough to at least attempt to play some stuff and maybe even join a picking circle or something...or just stick to watching others. So I'll have to keep my report to the bands. So if you don't care about bluegrass, now's a great time to stop reading. Actually, if that's the case, why'd you wander over in the first place? Anyway...

If instrumental bluegrass is your thing, do whatever you have to do to see Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper if they ever do a show within several hundred miles or so of where you live. They're that good. These guys blew me away and are easily the best bluegrass band I've ever heard. They're the two-time defending IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year, and it's not hard to see why. The CD I bought is actually a slight letdown since I saw them in concert first--they include a lot more solos and instrumentals live. But I'm sure I'll get a chance to see this band again sometime, hopefully soon.

The Dry Branch Fire Squad put on a couple of great performances as well. They're more "normal" bluegrass, for lack of a better way to put it. You know, what a casual listener like myself might go to a bluegrass show figuring to hear. Their show is great though, with plenty of humor and storytelling mixed in. They were the most entertaining band of the bunch, if not the most hard-hitting.

Others that were good enough to get me to buy a CD were the Steep Canyon Rangers and NewFound Road. The Rangers are more contemporary I'd say, relative newcomers to mainstream bluegrass but quickly making a name for themselves. NewFound Road has been around for a few years but has recently started adding in some secular stuff to their previously all-gospel set. I like them a lot and they definitely have a strong Christian bent. Another great one that I would have bought a CD for had I not run out of cash is Dailey & Vincent. They're arguably the premier band playing these days in the bluegrass genre, having recently taken home a slew of honors at the IBMA Awards. They're another gospel-focused group, and they even did some evangelism at the show. (That took some guts to do, given they were in the greater Boston area. Shows they aren't afraid to alienate a few fans.) They're a fun concert too, with some humor thrown in.

One funny thing about this festival, and I suspect all such bluegrass festivals, is that since the bands play a lot of older, common tunes in addition to their own stuff, you end up hearing some of the same songs more than once. I know I heard "Rovin' Gambler" at least three times. I've memorized the story of the song now and I only heard it for the first time two days ago! There was one about a ship captain or something that kept coming up, but I didn't remember it as well. It's cool though, because no two bands do the same tune exactly the same--different instrumentals, varying harmony vocals, whatever.

Overall, it was a great weekend and well worth the effort and headache (read: driving on the MassPike) it took to get there each of the three days. Most of the bands were great and I'm not doing them justice by not mentioning them here. One excuse is I felt groggy and out of it all day today--I may be coming down with a cold--so I just couldn't enjoy the music as much. I didn't buy any CDs today, but the bands were good and I figure I'll end up with a few more CDs from some or all of them at some point. A few of the bands were more old country than bluegrass really--not that that's bad, but I don't like it as much and wasn't as excited to hear them. But my focus needs to be on learning mandolin, or guitar or some kind of instrument at least, so next year it'll be that much better for me.

Monday, February 09, 2009

our culture in 20 words

Check out this piece of artistic and creative genius:

That's freakin' awesome! But what's not freakin' awesome is the fact that she's just a sample of typical American me-me-me culture. Get the story behind the poster here.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

another fembot encounters reality

...and, as is usually the case when a twisted ideology slams head-on into the real world of consequences, trade-offs, and the like, the result ain't pretty. MarkyMark has the dish, and adds in a bit of biting commentary as well. A pointed question of his stood out to me and calls for some rambling on my part.
If you women were going to be men, why couldn't you have at least been GENTLEMEN?
Good point. No, excellent point. But I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. Feminazis view men as worthless creatures, slightly less intelligent than Neanderthals and about as reliable as partners. They seem to be capable of seeing only our worst behavior, and magnified at that. So when they try to emulate men and prove themselves "equal," they end up being the equal of the man that exists only in their heads, the one who has no self-control, compassion, honesty, or any other decent qualities. And so they end up becoming something worse than 99.7% of the men I've ever met. No wonder men avoid them and other women disdain them.

Way to go, ladies. Grrrl power. But be careful what you strive for, because you just might achieve it.

I do feel sorry for women who were sold a bag of rocks during their younger years and are figuring out too late that they got duped big-time in the game of life. An entire generation or more has been caught in the crossfire, so to speak, having been led to believe the have-it-all, do-it-all life is possible, only to find out along the way that they were taught bullbleep all along. There is no "top of the ladder." The dream is unattainable because it doesn't actually exist. (This applies to much more than just feminism, too.)

Ah well, guess what grrrls, you have the honor of living with your choices just the same as the rest of us. Yeah, that's one of those nuances of reality that feminist dogma doesn't seem to get the word out on. But don't worry, no ideology can cheat you out of that experience. All of us have made poor moves along the way and have to deal with the fallout of having an other-than-ideal life as a result. Welcome to humanity. So suck it up, and take it like the man you've trained yourself to be for so long.

As cold as it may be, even as a Christian I must admit that I get some amount of satisfaction out of watching people, especially feminazis, reap the due consequences of their own choices and actions. Not that that's right or healthy, but it does reaffirm my faith that there really is some justice in the world. I can't say I'm immune to consequences myself, but that's part of my point. None of us are. So perhaps a little foresight is in order in life, instead of relying on temporal feelings or trendy worldviews (that folks will laugh at years later) or social engineering or a false expectation of permanence or anything else to somehow pull a fast one for us in the game of life. Ain't gonna happen.

qotd: reagan's view of government

Sayeth Ronald Reagan, on the role of government:
If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.
Such a reminder is not at all necessary in these times, but there you go anyway. Thanks to Chapin's Inferno for that one.

Monday, February 02, 2009

liberalism as a disease

That's a great way to think of it. Vox hits this one dead on, filling in the blanks that Victor Davis Hanson left alone. The comments are great, too, and someone beat me to the obvious of pointing out that New England, and Taxachusetts more than any other N.E. state probably, is exporting carriers to the southern regions in droves. Methinks the only way to escape slowly wasting away among the swarming parasites is to bolt to far-off shores.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

news flash: another athlete stumbles

Just read that Michael Phelps got caught smoking pot in a photo that somehow made its way from a University of South Carolina house party to one of the many, many British tabloids. Recall that a few years ago, shortly after the 2004 Athens Olympics, he was busted for DUI in his home state. It's fair to say the guy has a bad habit of doing stupid things shortly after winning lots of gold medals.

Now I'm not saying Phelps is a bad guy or anything. In fact, I still have a lot of respect for him. He certainly seems like an upstanding athlete, and a refreshingly humble one given all the success he's had at such a young age. No doubt it would be quite hard to deal with all that glory and the attention and worship that comes with it for anyone, much less a guy who's no older than a lot of folks just graduating from college and entering the real world.

But his behavior does imply one of two things: either he's not who we are led to believe he is (and who I think he is), or he's prone to very poor and embarrassing lapses in judgment. He is held up as a role model and yet is compiling a not-so-sparse record of dumb behavior. I'm beginning to think the guy falls in the Michael Vick category of guys in over their head lifestyle-wise and in need of some support to avoid ruining the life that's ahead of them. Somebody has to make sure he doesn't flush down all he's worked for up until now, and I don't think he's up to the task by himself. So far he's been the biggest threat to his own success.

This all points to a disturbing trend in society, too. Why do we continue to idolize people we know are only human, only to be crushed, disappointed, angered, etc., when they inevitably crack and show some imperfections? Doesn't it occur to folks that such idolatry focused on mere mortals is part of the reason they end up failing us expectations-wise? Not to mention the hope for the rest of us that such worship doesn't provide.

Oh well, I guess it's been obvious for a long time now that people too often care more about being entertained and poring over the details of someone else's shortcomings than they do in focusing on how they themselves could be better stewards of society. Such is contemporary Western culture...

Anyway, gotta go, Stupid Bowl's finally on. GO CARDS!!!!!