Decadence, Part 2, Sex

Decadence, Part 2, Sex.

70% of the internet is porn.  That must mean that the other 30% is gambling.

The ultimate conclusion is that, unless sex is kept to the marriage bed and kept in private, everyone becomes lonelier, less fulfilled and less happy.  Free love becomes an act which is even beyond animal instinct to the point of being sociopathic.  Is it any wonder that we live in a society that treats people worse than animals.

I wish I could say that the video was shocking, but I have seen worse on European broadcast TV.  Even in “prudish” America we have flirted with full nudity for some time now, even as we have sought to give the least restrained of society their fifteen minutes of fame.

If God is really gracious to America, the great EMP will hit us, knock us all off the internet for a few months, so that we can all suddenly wake up and see reality again, and see that it ain’t so bad.  In fact, it’s quite a bit better than fantasy, once you go through detox

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Hyphenated Americans

In the centuries of immigration and other forms of matriculation to US soil, there have been many cases of hyphenated expressions of nationality.  Sometimes these were an innocuous affinity for the fatherland and the plight of those still living there.  Sometimes these were derogatory terms that sought to single out one or more ethnicities as problems or as something to be avoided or controlled.  And, finally, hyphenation became a way of procuring special favor as an underclass.  But, only in the last few decades has hyphenation become a force in creating rifts in the America culture.

Before the United States of America raised its unified head on American soil, European powers all had colonial interests in the New World.  But one wasn’t inclined to speak of hyphenated people.  The colonists were English, overall.  Those that had immigrated from other countries were absorbed into the English colonies and not considered to have allegiances elsewhere.  Yet they were called what they were, Dutch, German, French, and the like, as a reference to whence they had come.  Except for a few that purposely worked on behalf of their home countries, motives for being in the colonies were not in question.

After 1781, all within the boundaries of the new United States, outside of ambassadors and the like, were considered American citizens.  Never was any thought given to the land from which they might originally have come and in which they might have had loyalties.  There was, of course, one particular group who did not have equal citizenship.  It was to take another 80 years to remedy this situation, so that all people, regardless of ethnicity, could simple call themselves, which no strings attached, American citizens.

Once the great American mistake was fixed, and America began to come to prominence, the numbers of immigrants swelled.  During this time, one’s country of origin became an issue, and the hyphenating of Americans created a chain of events that would work toward the downfall of the America ideal.

It started with the Irish.  For some reason, the Irish were considered to be black and were subject to the same prejudices of American blacks.  But, the Irish were not going to acquiesce to such treatment, especially as their ranks swelled and they fought their way (often literally) into political prominence.  To help there cause, and also to protect their new-found base for much of their employment, the West, the Irish had to come up with another ethnicity on which to blame societal problems.  Along came the Chinese.

The Chinese were wooed to America as America’s Manifest Destiny began to spread out over the Pacific in search of new trade routes.  As China was then languishing in the aftermath of the Boxer rebellion and the Opium Wars, promises of good jobs and pay lured many of them to America.  Some of them were hired to replace lost black slaves in the South, and treated pretty much like slaves.  They subsequently revolted and thus ceased the majority of agrarian Chinese labor.  In California and the West, however, they proved to be tireless workers just as the railroad was being stretched to the Pacific.  However, they worked too well, which didn’t leave jobs for the Irish.  So, the Irish lead the way in halting Chinese immigration.  This made the Chinese-America a miniscule minority indeed until the mid 1900’s found us allied with China against Japanese aggression.

It was during this Japanese agression, linked, of course, with Germany in the Axis powers, that German-Americans ceased to worship in German, talk in German, and promote their German heritage.  Suddenly, Germans who had been in America for generations, were suspect to be sympathetic to Hitler’s Germany.  Of course, that was hardly ever the case.  Nor was it the case the Japanese-Americans were suddenly going to rise up en masse and help the Japanese Army defeat America.  But, the Japanese could not disappear into the mass of America as the Germans could do.  Most of them were stripped of their possessions and placed in camps for the duration of the war.

Italians were also singled out when they started coming to this country.  Their response was a lot like the Irish.  They fought their ways to respectability.  Many of them did so by taking over.  It’s called the Mafia.  They still have their fingers in everything, including having elected at least two presidents.

Then there are the Jewish Americans.  Oi y’veh, wouldn’t they just love it if everyone just let them be Americans already.  And yet the Jews are peculiar.  Although they don’t practice the same religion anymore, they all still talk of being the chosen people.  They are one of the few ethnic groups that retains a nationality despite not having a homeland for 2000 years.  They have one now, but hardly any of them want to live in it.  Yet they haven’t assimilated as well as they might have hoped over the years.  They didn’t just because Russian, Polish, English, German, etc.  And they aren’t particularly united in calling Palestine their homeland, since most of them have never lived there.  But, when the American flag is raised and the National anthem is sung, they sing right along with the rest of us.

Finally, let’s get back to the blacks.  For 100 years after they gained full rights of citizenry, most black only wanted to be Americans, like everyone else.  Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t so easy to blend in.  In the 1960’s just as the blacks were about to finally integrate along with everyone else, along came black power and drove the other way.  Even that couldn’t stop most blacks from assimilating until the new segregationists of the 60’s rose to power and demanded that we all re-hyphenate.  The American Indian benefited to some degree and is now more correctly labeled a native-American.  This, of course, is confusing as well, though.  After all, I was born in America, of American citizens, which thus makes me a native American too, even though I am German-American and probably a little Jewish-American as well.

As an American of German descent, I appreciate my German heritage.  And yet I have no desire to repatriate nor do I have any affinity for Germany in German-American affairs.  I just like bratwurst.  I don’t go around calling myself German-American, because I’m not longer German at all.  I pledge allegiance to the the United States of America.  Only.   I think it’s cool that America has so many ethnic groups all thrown together, adding diversity to our culture.  I also think it’s cool that we all speak one language and follow one set of laws.  I don’t think it’s cool that we make laws that try to separate people into factions.  I don’t think it’s cool that, since the 60’s  we have tried to tear down our culture in favor of multi-culture.  After all, we are not the Divided States of America.  Although all this hyphenating (pro-choice, pro-life) is certainly taking us there.

In conclusion, not much good ever comes from hyphenating Americans.  It causes brutality, divisions, persecutions, confusion, distraction, and general malaise.  It’s where we found ourselves in the 70’s.  Then we crawled out of it in the 80’s, only to have spiraled back down into it 20 years later.  I hope we can get past hyphenated America again soon, before there’s no America left to hyphenate.

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The Race

The days leading up to Sunday’s race were not what I would call filled with good omens.  First, there was the second degree sunburn I foolishly allowed myself to suffer on Wednesday’s ride-through of the 90 mile route.  Actually, those burns were largely a result of the cottage cheese I foolishly ingested on Tuesday night, which left me in the bathroom and sick in bed long after my 5am start time.  By the time I rolled out of the house at quarter past nine, I wasn’t in the mood for stopping to find sun screen.  But cloud cover was heavy, so I blew it off.  By 9:45, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and wouldn’t be until I arrived at the finish six hours later.  Note to self, **SLAP!**

Three weeks ago, I had barely ridden a bike all summer.  Only twice had I broken ten miles.  But a recent 20 holes of golf in which a ran most of the course had gotten me to thinking that my health had somewhat improved.  All earlier attempts to ride had left me feeling half dead, not sensing any ability to recover.  So, I now wondered to myself whether I should find out once and for all if I indeed were better.  And, also, I sensed a small window to do what had become a ritual for me, to ride my bike around the lake, a mere 75 miles.  Of course, I don’t have a rode bike that works and have to ride my modified mountain bike, so it takes longer.

Tuesday, August 4, I was up early, had the bike loaded and hit the road at 5:50.  Due to switching winds, the first 60 miles were slightly wind-abetted.  After I finally got the wind behind me, I frolicked around taking pictures and such and coasted home in 6 1/2 hours.  I had done it, so now to focus on work.

By Saturday, August 8, the work schedule was still full of holes.  Finding myself with the afternoon free, I decided to try it again, this time more seriously.  Based on what I’ve come to learn about muscle recovery, it was the fourth day, so I should be ready.  5 hours and 15 minutes later I was successful again.

Thoughts turned toward the “Race the Lake”, a 90 mile race held every year.  Turns out if was coming up the next Sunday.  I’d ridden 75 miles twice in a week, but had never ridden my mountain bike 90 miles in one sitting.  Could I do it?  Should I?  I decided that, based on four days’ rest, I should try the course out.  As yes another work hole opened up on Wednesday, perfect timing.

While I felt good again on Wednesday, the aforementioned mistakes had me feeling pretty miserable for the rest of the week.  Sleep was hard to get, as any little movement caused burn pain.  Also, there was the fact that work days were going into late hours.  Even Saturday, a rest day, involved too much running around, such that I finally collapsed at 10pm and hope I could get a few hours of sleep.

By the time the 3am alarm sounded, I was just falling asleep.  I got up and contemplated punting the whole idea, instead of diving into the pre-race itinerary.  Suddenly, I’m half-way through breakfast and realize that it’s already 4:15, I’m half an hour drive from the race start, and I haven’t even packed the car yet.  So now the real race begins.  Managing to pull a rabbit out of the hat, I arrived at the parking lot a 5:05am.  Race is at 5:30.  Cutting it close but OK.

So, I jump out of the car and they start my division of the race!  Oops, they told me the wrong start time at registration.  So I slap my bike together and go off by myself, 15 minutes late.  Like and idiot, I try to catch the guys in my division.  Not a smart move on a 45-pound mountain bike with no pack for sharing the wind break.  By mile 22, the elite rode bikes, who started after me by 25 minutes, go rolling by.  I try to catch a draft but am already too spent.  By mile 36, I realize that I am gassed and think of pulling out.  At mile 45 comes the first big climb and I need to get off and walk.  Also, we have now turned into the wind.  Several gatoraides and some welcome downhills later, I’m sitting at mile 65, still gassed, but thinking I can do this.  Four hours have elapsed, and I’m thinking there are only about two to go, so just keep turning the pedals.  Two more excruciating hours bring me to the finish line.

Now it is Friday post-race.  The sunburn is almost healed, now.  The last two nights finally brought sleep, but I’m still feeling fatigued.  Now the questions for analysis.

  1. Should I go back into bike racing?  NO!  My time of six hours wasn’t bad, considering the bike I rode and the messed up situation that saw me solo the whole race.  But, the winners all posted a time around 3:23.  When I was 25, maybe I could have competed with that.  But I remember being on the bike 15 hours a week.  I remember how hard it was to stay awake at my desk during my day job.  I remember not having a life.  And I remember still getting beat by the younger guys who didn’t have a day job, which meant more rest and more hours of training.  My hobby was their job.
  2. How am I doing at 55?  After a year of really questionable health, I thought I was never going to feel like a younger man again.  I’m happy to find that that is not the case.  No, I didn’t recover very well this week.  But, I do notice a difference.  My knees stopped complaining.  My heart rate is back under 60.  Even my fingers stopped feeling arthritic.  Other issues are still nagging me.  But, I think some of that is from the stress of 330 miles on a mountain bike in 13 days.  As biking makes me want to eat everything, I got a little lax on watching what I eat and ate things I know don’t sit right with me, like dairy (Hello!  Cottage cheese?  What were you thinking!)  I will have to see if things start improving again when I get off the junk food.
  3. Will I be back next year?   It’s a long way and God only knows what comes in between.  But, I feel like my old self again for the first time since February of 2014.   I lost my sister that month, which couldn’t have helped my health much.  But it was pretty bad before then.  And depression from a failed business venture couldn’t have helped either.  But, I’ve read so much about how the body needs oxygen to be healthy.  I’ve learned so much about eating right and have done a much better job at it.  And I think it helped.  But I always had the sneaking suspicion that conquering the lake was going to help me conquer my health.  I think I was right.

Going for a little ride tomorrow.  Around the lake.  Anyone want to join me?

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The Obama Test

I have noticed, over the years, that the title of a blog is more important to its viewership than anything in the meta file or the content.   Recently, I have blogged very little.  Yet, some titles continue to lead the way in views.  I am putting this blog in the search engine just to see how many hits it gets just because the title mentions Obama.

Now, to be sure, some people love our president and some people hate him.  But, as Donald Trump would say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.  And our present White House inhabitant is certainly capable of generating a lot of pub.

Some of you might be insulted that I wasted your time in this way.  But, it’s not a total waste of time, if it gets you to stop and think about something.  Most of what we click on and discuss on this terrible and wonderful internet is knee-jerk, visceral response to shock journalism.  I am myself guilty of wasting many a good day when I suddenly realize that I have followed the click trail well down the trail of paid click sites to the point of contemplating just how much some celebrities look like their dogs.  Meanwhile, somewhere else, something matters, like Planned Parenthood selling aborted fetus parts, or Obama (oo, I said the magic word again, yay!) quietly issuing an executive order (by the way, aren’t most of these unconstitutional?) that give the federal government eminent domain over you and you property.  Why didn’t we know this? Well, there are, unfortunately only so many hours in the browsing day, and we spent ours being led by the nose through a pile of ads.

I’m sure I could come up with more catchy titles that would bring people running.  Something like,  “When they opened the lid on the garbage can, they were shocked by what they saw!”  Then I could proceed to tell the story of some schlep who was always messing until he discovered how to keep the trash can spotless.  Then I could make some links to incredible cleaning products or to that new coating to which nothing can stick.  Maybe I can get a little click revenue, while I’m at it.  Of course, it takes some time and effort to set that up, and a little know-how.   I could probably find out if I weren’t so busy deciding which Olsen Twin is more anorexic.

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Happy Anniversary To Me. So What.

Well, another year of blogging quietly concluded.  Quietly is was mostly because I ceased to care much about blogging.  What is the point of all the talk when no one is listening?

So, today I read one of my old posts, where I got it.  I don’t blog for today, nor do I blog for present day America.  I blog the universal truth for the time when someone might actually care to listen.  If any of this survives the Great Purge of Queen Obama in 2045 (she the heir and successor to her father, King Barack, who becomes the first American Caesar just before the 2016 elections), then maybe some small band of rebels might be encouraged to some small degree to forge the new freedom movement.  If, by the grace of God, that movement doesn’t end up being led by a modern day Adi Amin, I might make some small difference in this world some day.

More likely,  I will get back to this blogging thing and help the small remnant of Christians who still exist after the mass exodus from churches that ensues, now that the Christian veneer has been totally stripped from America via the Supreme Coat Us.  At least no one will accuse me of being inconsistent.  Since the eve of Obama’s second election victory (My Kingdom is not of the world), I have been speaking the truth about nominal Christianity.  I like how Hunter Baker managed to encapsulate it.  Since Essy Oat Us has now removed any possible political gain to being Christian, the death knell of nominal Christianity has been sounded.

Now, I’m not for gay marriage any more than I’m for abortion.  But it just might be a good thing that we finally see the fruits of uncommitted Christianity.   Decades ago we dropped the ball when we stopped throwing people out of the church for doing unchristian things like sleeping around, easy divorces, spousal abuse, and, in general, imitating and trying to “fit in” to the unchristian world.  For decades, those watching the church shouted “hypocrisy!”   We, the few who really were trying to live our faith, tried to respond that we were misunderstood, that no one can live up to the standards of Christ no matter how hard they try, but that there is forgiveness when we fail.   We didn’t really understand that only 10% of us were really even trying.  We didn’t start to realize it until a whole generation of young Christians went off to college and never came back.  We blamed it on brainwashing of teachers (which is quite true), not realizing that the real blame lay in the fact that we neither taught our children God’s word nor showed them any example of Christian living.  Now, suddenly, the shock at legal gay marriage.  Frankly, I am a little shocked myself that gays should want to marry, given that “Christians” have made such a mess of the state that hardly anyone who looks at most marriages should want to marry.

Anyway, I’m still all for marriage.  It’s the best for everyone involved.  I’m not all for gay marriage, because I don’t think any marriage based on something abominable to God can ever end well.  And I’m not for the idea of Christian marriage just because that’s what Christians do.  No, I’m talking about a real, working marriage, with kids nurture by a father and a mother, kids who are trained up in the way they should go so that they know how it’s supposed to be done when it’s their turn.  But I haven’t seen much of that in a long, long time.  And, when I do see it, it is a rare thing of beauty.

So, yes, I’ll keep blogging.  I’ll take some different tacks, since logical politics is dead and gone.  But I signed on for five years minimum.  Two to go.  Hope I still recognize something in the world by then.

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And then there was Nepal

As some of you who read my blogs may know, I was hoping to ride my bike from India through Nepal and into Tibet.  So I have been planning and studying the region for some time.

About a year ago, I was introduced to a young man in Nepal with a dream to take the Good News of Jesus to his fellow Nepali people.  Unfortunately, as an orphan, he lacked the funds.  Could I help him?  So, my plans to go to Nepal gained impetus, and the focus changed from tourism to what I might do to help him and others.   Somehow, over the last year or so, I have fallen in love with the people of Nepal more than the scenery.

Now comes the events of the last few weeks.  Suddenly, everyone is thinking about Nepal.  Well-intentioned people are rushing with food, medical and other kinds of aid.  Donations are pouring in. Everyone wants to help.

I have two questions.  Besides the tourists, who came for the view, who cared a hang for Nepal before the earthquake?  And how long will it take for all of this caring to move on to the next disaster and leave the Nepali people to their fate?

I know there are a lot of people, by which I mean hundreds, that really care about Nepal in a personal way.  And there are many thousands more who simply are compassionate people and want to help people out in desperate times.  And thank God for all of them.  But, ten dollars is easy to spare, or even a hundred, when it’s nothing to drop $500 a month on the new SUV.  I’m sure most of the Doctors Without Borders could pony up substantially more than that.   Instead, they give something a lot more precious.  They give themselves.  They don’t just write a check toward a problem.  They go and FIX the problem.

What is my point?  Why does it take a disaster before we care?  Why are we so selfish that we scream through life on our agendas and don’t bother to look at the people we pass, the very people whose existence defines life?  Perhaps that is our training in the modern world where money and pleasure have become our most sought after commodities.

I have a commitment to help the people of Nepal.  I can’t fling them a check right now.  But I give them myself.  I will pray for them, laugh and cry with them, seek to do business with them.  Mostly, I will find a way to come to them and help them fix their problems.  Commitment isn’t about checks, and it isn’t about today.  It’s about tomorrow and every day after that.   Good that so many offer help to Nepal.  Don’t forget them tomorrow.

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Lessons on the Middle East: Introduction

I have been, in my hiatus from blogging, studying the Middle East.  There  are no end of choices about our current problems with the the region.  Yet few newer offers really get to the historical context of modern events.  Two excellent exceptions are All The Shah’s Men, by Stephen Kinzer (2005, not all that modern anymore), and Islamic Imperialism, by Efraim Karsh (2007)

As  way of introduction, and in order illuminate a source of vaste knowledge about the true nature of Islam,  I give this link

Dr. Bill Warner details quite quickly just what is the overwhelming truth of Islamic conquest and why the world is the way it is today.  I urge anyone to have look at this video and his other offerings.

One of the things I like about All the Shah’s Men is that it explains well that, when it comes to dealing with the Middle East, there are facts, there is propaganda, and there are facts skewed in importance by propaganda.  This is really no different from any other place.  What causes the Middle East to be under the microscope is that has been the historic battle ground of empires.  From the earliest days of the Persians battling the Greco-Roman empires to the modern clashes between the Russian and British empires, it has been the battle ground of East against West.  And, from the dawn of Islam, which has sought to destroy Christiany by force, and which has indeed succeed in wiping out half of the Christian world, it has been a battleground in the death struggle of spiritual forces as well.

To the casual observer, especially those residing in America, far-removed from the constant conflict, our glimpses of the Middle East are few and seen through our own prism of 9/11.  It is looked upon by most, I think, as an isolated incident.  Our fears have been aswaged by an all-out assault of “religion of peace” propagandists to make it seem as if the most famous terrorist act in our history was a one-off by “radicals”.  As Dr. Warner points out, though, there have been 19000 jihadist attacks just since 9/11.  And, if one goes back to the beginning, the death toll of the “religion of peace” is staggering, as are the hundreds of millions of people in once-Christian nations who were forced to assimilate.

Certainly, Islam doesn’t equate with Middle East.  But, for the last 1400 years, the overlap has been enormous.  To treat the subject politically without considering Islam is utterly impossible.  And, while many of the Muslim nations have had a go at secular and separatist power grabs over the centuries, that fact remains that there is one overall driving force in the region.

I have friends living in Tehran.  Most of them are Muslim.   Most of them are Persian, too.  Persians are not Arabs, and they would be the first to point that out to you.  While religious ties seek to unite the region, ethnic ties seek the opposite.  One of the greatest battles that Middle Eastern countries have waged are battles with themselves.  We certainly see this with ISIS at present.  It does seem very confusing to outsiders, but it all make perfect sense to insiders.  Hopefully a little focus on the region will help it to make sense to us as well.

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