Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Winter Walk in DC

Twas a gorgeous winter day in D.C. today, the kind I love to head outside and absolutely wear myself out in. And so I did, as I walked and explored the Capital Crescent Trail from Bethesda to the Potomac near Chain Bridge, and on into Georgetown. I hiked about 7-8 miles and intended to do more. But I dawdled in places and time got away from me as the winter sun went down. Still every little bit helped in restoring my 'sanguinity,' equanimity and fresh air quotient. And talk about a great winter night's sleep tonight......my eyelids are already getting heavier, heavier, heavier...

Above, center, boathouse on the Potamac, and directly above is Bethesda Avenue near Barnes and Noble. There's another leg to this trail that goes from Bethesda east to the hamlet of Silver Spring, MD, but as yet, I haven't walked it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Word or Two About Curing Colds, Flu and Bronchitis

UPDATE: The method below may or may not cure this, but my experience indicates it would likely help if a similar outbreak occurs again.


There are many, many subjects I know little or nothing about. Other things I've learned second or third hand. Then there are one or two things I can honestly speak of from direct life-long learning and experience. Respiratory distress is one of them.

Colds that start in your head, move to your throat and chest causing congestion, asthma, laryngitis, coughing, sometimes pneumonia and even hernias (as in coughing so hard that I bust parts of my intestines and have to have surgery to repair it), are things I can honestly say I know something about. Over a half-century about to be precise. And I want to share with you some things I've learned that have greatly helped me.

How to prevent colds in the first place, and if not prevent them entirely, to cut them off at the pass and greatly shorten their duration and harsh effects is what I know something about. I've spent more time in hospitals, oxygen tents (when I was a kid so sick I was not expected to live to the age of six), on drugs and recovering from bronchitis, asthma, sinus infections and sinus surgeries than I'd ever like to admit. For me this learning has at times been a life-or-death matter.

Yet today, by the Grace of God, I am amazingly healthy, fit, energized and drug free. (And if ever there was a potential drug-addict from all this stuff, it was me.) Over the years, I've learned so much about respiratory disease---both upper and lower.

I have some simple solutions I've come up with over the years that really work to short-circuit a cold that wants to spread all over your body.

It's up to you whether you find them credible or useful and are willing to try them. I never use antibiotics anymore because I've found this regime is better, safer, faster and renders them unneccessary. Really.

In many ways the remedies I've come up with are far too easy for many people to take seriously. But if you've lived through decades of respiratory distress, colds and sinus problems, and taken drugs until you thought you'd die from the cure as much as the disease, then you're open to anything that might make you better with a minimum of side effects.

(This has been a life-long journey for me. Starting first with getting away from living with people who smoke cigarettes as my mother did, and died a very early death as a result. Over the years too, I've learned to eliminate things from my diet that caused mucous which led to congestion and infections, like excessive dairy, milk, wheat, refined grains, corn syrup and sugars. Diet was a trial and error thing for me. Yet it absolutely had been a life-saver. Also washing your hands often helps.)

Still after all is said and done, we all get colds and sometimes we get complications from them. Is there a way to minimize that and shorten its duration? Yes. Abolsutely!

Here's my two pronged whammy for curing the common cold sooner rather than later. You'll need to buy and use the following products:

First, buy a canister or two of Simply Saline, preferably in the dark blue cannister, (see pic above) since it's a stronger saline mix. But either white or dark blue cannisters will do fine. This product has nothing but pure water and saline in it. It has no, not one, preservative. It sprays a fine mist which I've found to be much more effective than Netti pots which often made me sicker and irritated my sinuses.

Start spraying this into you nose and sinuses every hour. It delivers a fine mist of saline evenly in your air passages and immediately goes to work to sooth membranes and kill cold germs dead. But here's the trick: ALSO spray it into the back of your throat through your mouth and into your mouth also in such a way that you begin to deeply inhale the saline mist into your lungs. This will start to kill germs in all parts of your respiratory tract. Since I started doing breathing this pure saline into my lungs, I've never had a head cold migrate to my chest and never have gotten that awful cough. It's absolutely magic!

Do it as much as every hour and don't stop until you're feeling better. If you blow your nose, then spray it again. Use lavishly. When you use saline, there's simply no place for cold germs to migrate. Instead they die!

Second, buy one or two pump containers of ZICAM gel. (Not the Zicam nose spray but the gel.) I prefer the pump rather than the gel swabs. It's messy at times, but contains zinc gel which is a great boost for your immune system. This product delivers zinc to your system directly (as opposed to through your digestive system) and gets it there fast and powerfully. Start using it every hour. Pump it into you nose and then hold your nose and let it begin to be absorbed. THEN pump some of it under your tongue hourly---I know they don't tell you to do this, but it's amazing. The beauty of this is the zinc is absorbed and goes to work in your system instantly. If you really want to be aggressive, then pump some on the skin of your neck and chest, if you feel your cold is about to go into your chest. This is also amazing, if used in concert with the saline solution.

Start this at the first sign of a cold. But if you already have one, then begin it anyway and give it several days to turn around.

BTW, I've read complaints that ZICAM has caused people to lose their taste and sense of smell, but I've never known it to happen to anyone I know. Rather the benefits of using both saline and zinc together at the first sign of a cold are more than worth their weight in gold to me. And are very cost effective.

Finally, to these two remedies I would add the discipline of drinking lots of good water every hour. This flushes your body of toxins. Eating light, uncomplicated foods and no sugars/sweets/simple carbs (which feed infections and bacteria), staying away from second-hand smoke, and giving your body good rest are great ways to recover fast, faster and fastest. If my experience helps even one person, then it will more than be worth it.

If I had ten things I could run out of a burning buiding with, after my little Bible, Simply Saline and ZICAM Gel would be two at the top of my list. And when or if there's a worldwide bird flu or other pandemic, I will use it religiously and encourage all those I love to also.

Spare Me the Caroline Kennedy "PR," It's Ridiculous

TUESDAY UPDATE: The New York Times said "she seemed less like a candidate than an idea of one: eloquent but vague, largely undefined and seemingly determined to remain that way."


When I think about the intense abuse that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin took with grace from the feminist left so called intelligentsia as being unqualified (though she held experience, principles and a resume that ran circles around those of Mr. Obama and almost all of them) while she campaigned with John McCain for VP, and watch the process of Caroline Kennedy roll towards her being appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat in New York, I want to gag. Gag I tell you! What's wrong with this picture? Just about everything.

First and foremost, Caroline decries a history of almost no interest in the political process over the years, starting with the most sacred of our rights and responsibilities---the right to vote. She's made few if any political contributions to candidates---as in putting her money where your mouth is.

But even more troubling is her work/volunteer experience that has little to commend her to becoming a U.S. Senator. If all that isn't enough, let's drive the nail in the coffin with her public speaking abilities: they're non-existent. Let me put it this way: if we had a dollar for every time Caroline said "You know" in one of her rambling sentences over the past several days, in explaining why she wants this job, why she'll be good at it, why she should suddenly have it, then we all could pay off our mortgages.

I mean, I mean, I mean, Caroline Kennedy for U.S. Senator from New York sucks.

And now, you know, along with the two other things in the world that make me gag---rancid oil and over-ripe avocados---her sudden attempts to be a senator make me a bit on the woozy, bilious side too.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Prayers For Our Wee Newborn

THERE IS LITTLE ON EARTH that compares to cradling our newborn grandson in my arms (after weeks in the NICU) and praying the deepest of prayers for his salvation and well being and the same for his beloved mother and father. I sang him lullabies and softly whispered the story of Another Birth 2000 years ago in his ears. This is a holy, humbling and tender place to be. For which I am most grateful to God and my Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing more to say but to express the deepest, most ineffable and profound gratitude for the new little life among us. May God bless, protect and guide this little baby boy and his parents, always.

Christ Leaves His Majestic Throne For A Humble Manger, Then Goes Back Again Until His Return

DURING CHRISTMAS our thoughts are on Jesus' humble birth in a stable, focusing on the aspects of His humanity and lowly beginnings though he was God. Throughout His life He humbled himself and served mankind, even to the point of washing His disciples feet and surrendering to His Father's will that he die an ignominious death as the sacrificial lamb and only way to save mankind from its fallen state. He lived a transient lifestyle teaching and healing the sick, the fallen, the outcast, the enslaved and the hopeless. Over and over He reiterated he was here to save sinners rather than those (like the rule-keeping Pharisees) who thought they could save themselves through their own 'good' works and piety. He was here to offer us a personal relationship with Him, to transform us here. And He was here to teach of another life beyond this one. An Eternal Life.

While He lived and taught, Jesus continued to humbly take on the depravity of mankind for all time and when the 'end' was near, rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The Jews rejected Him because they had expected a triumphant and showy ruler who would overthrow the Roman Empire and rule the world lavishly as King of the Jews. Jesus was not exactly the king most of them wanted or expected. He was far too plain and humble. So He was falsely accused and sentenced to die an excruciating and humiliating death on a cross. And then the storyline changed. And it changed the world forever.

From beginning to end, Jesus was humble to the point of death. When He came back from the dead on the third day, He told His followers what would happen next: He would return to the Father and the glorious throne room of God. The Holy Spirit would come. The Good News would spread throughout the Earth. All men would be given the chance and the choice to accept His Free Gift of Salvation and to be made over. Or not. Some would be too comfortable with depravity, addictions and accomplishments to give them up and be healed into an unknown new life path. Still, sometime in the future, the time for choosing would be over and He would come again in triumphant glory to judge the quick and the dead, and to separate those who believed in Him from those who did not.

Years later on the Island of Patmos, the Apostle John would have an outrageous vision of God and His Second Coming that he would write down. It would become the last book of the Bible--- the Book of Revelation. In it God reiterated that He, Christ Jesus, will come again to separate believers from non-believers. He will destroy the person of Satan and his followers and take His flock to live with Him in Glorious Eternity. The outline of all that's written in Revelation is almost too unbelievable to read and contemplate. Certainly many who read it will not get far without thoughtful, Bible commentary.

Still it's helpful at Christmastime to review the Book of Revelation and see the throne room of heaven and its surroundings that magnify His deity and are in stark contrast to the humble life Christ lived while he was here the first time.

In Revelation, the center is a throne - behind which an emerald-colored rainbow arises. Dignitaries dressed in white robes and gold crowns are seated around the throne. The floor of the massive room is like crystal. Unusual looking creatures constantly give verbal praise to God and the dignitaries form a celestial choir, worshiping and praising God. This is the normal abode of God's Son. Yet we usually think of Jesus as a child in Bethlehem, a teacher on a hillside, or the One who bore our sins alone on a cross. Revelation balances that picture with a glimpse of Jesus' majesty and grandeur.

Suffice it to say, Jesus will not return to earth on a donkey, or in a stable. The power and majesty he will embody will be beyond our wildest comprehension. Over and over he entreats us to be ready, to seek Him, for he will return when we least expect it, like a thief in the night. He begs us over and over to take these prophecies seriously. Before it's too late.

Reading the entire Book of Revelation is a wonderful way to put the entirety of Salvation History into perspective. And it blesses each and everyone who reads it, according to the Bible. So if you want a blessing as we go into the new year, then go read the astounding Book of Revelation. And ponder these things in your heart, while asking God to reveal Himself to you in the New Year. Ask sincerely and He will sooner or later answer you. Power and majesty and might will balance humble when Christ comes back to us. It will be much more than we can begin to fathom in our hearts and minds.

Friday, December 26, 2008

How George Washington Saved America and the Revolutionary Cause at Christmastime----in the Winter of 1776

NO MATTER HOW bad we think we may have it today, George Washington and his rag tag revolutionary soldiers and countrymen faced a much more dire future in the winter of 1776. Rick Moran writing at Pajamas Media today recounts a history lesson that puts things in perspective.

The bleaker than bleak and bitter cold Christmas of 1776 is the one that turned the tide and set the course for the great country we have today.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dick Cheney Will Be Grandly Missed

THERE ARE SO MANY, many reasons to like Dick Cheney and here's only one of them. There are so many reasons our enemies despise him. He will be grandly missed in the days, months and years ahead. Though there's always a chance I'll run into him at some of our favorite undisclosed locations.....if you get my drift.

Farewell and tight lines, Mr. Vice President.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Birth of Christ, The First Coming

NEITHER THE BEGINNING NOR THE END of Salavation History, but the most important event of Earth history. There's much more to come. A Death and Resurrection. A Second Coming. Yet this week we remember and celebrate the humble First Coming, the Christ Child who came to be our substitute, to die in our place and be resurrected, thereby fixing some things badly out of whack since the Fall of Man. He came out of love for us to break the spell of eternal doom for mankind. To offer each of us a free gift, if only we will take it.

We look back and celebrate Christmas with joy and thanksgiving that The Fix Is In and now working its way through all human history and every fallen, dark heart. As we look back, we also look forward with tremendous expectation, and not a little trepidation, towards the climatic events hearalding the time Heaven will be fully founded on Earth. Stay tuned.

Lon Solomon talks on the important Three Christmas Questions at McLean Bible Church this weekend. Question 1: What exactly was the problem that Jesus came to fix? 2: Why did it have to be Jesus and not someone else? And finally 3: How does the Virgin birth and Christmas fit into the scheme of all of this? As usual, Lon puts these questions and answers in dazzling perspective for us to ponder and better understand the importance of the Christmas season to each of our lives and ultimate eternal destiny.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

National Portrait Gallery Hangs Bush Portrait in D.C. Friday

Without doubt, this is my favorite museum in the District. I could get lost here for hours, if not days, in this wonderful American history review through portraiture (Is it a word? If not it needs to be.) Such studies of character in leadership at each stage in our country's history are priceless, especially as time goes by.

Anyway, Friday technicians hung our current and outgoing president's portrait in this museum right next to, you know who's. Bush's classmate at Yale, Robert Anderson, painted it for posterity to judge the man and his legacy. More of the story of the painter and the president is here. I like the more casual but determined qualities it portrays. But then I like George W. Bush and think history will treat him far, far better than this country's current, vociferous ingrates in the MSM and on the radical left now do.

To be sure, while I'm here in D.C., shuttling between here and New York, over the next few weeks, I plan to make at least a trip or two to see this new portrait in person. More.

This from the WSJ's Photojournal.

One thing that interests me from the above link on the painter Anderson is how he refers to the tie Bush was wearing in the portrait. Yet months later there is no tie. I think this is a story that needs some investigation and follow-up which I plan to do as I delve into the mystery of the president's lost tie. In any event, I like the portrait and think it belies our president's overall sanguine nature in the face of the most despicable criticism and disrespect during a difficult time in American history. Long live President and private citizen George W. Bush!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Soon-To-Be Oprahzation of Washington D.C.

CAN ANYTHING BE MORE amusing and scary than for the multifarious demons and divas of Chicago to move en masse to D.C. especially Georgetown, and other upscale neighborhoods in NW Washington? The Capitol City, already to the left of the Left Coast, better be ready for them, cause they're ready for it. (And isn't it interesting that Mr. Obama, now elected, is moving towards the right?)

Word has it that Oprah is keeping her eye out for a small 5-8 bedroom pied-a-terre in Georgetown so she can be near Obama and Michelle and advise them on myriad issues. She can also be Nancy Pelosi's new best friend at the Four Season spa and hair salon every morning. And join Caroline Kennedy as a third when lunch with Al Sharpton is on the agenda.
Apparently nothing's been purchased----yet, though sources say it's only a matter of time.

For sure, Oprah is gunning to be the next Perle Mesta of town. I suppose we can be thankful that she's not, as far as we know, seeking Mr. O's Senate seat----yet. One can only hope that she's bringing her personal trainer and carbohydrate coach with her, as this can be a difficult town in which to watch one's weight. Oh well, for now it's just too much fun being in love with the whole damn scene. Potomac fever is alive and well in Chicago and D.C. After all, haven't we all been there once or twice?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Friend Emails

PICS OF A GROUP OF ELK currently camped out in her front yard in Jackson, Wyoming. Thanks, J, makes me want to jump on the next plane. Such a fine looking bull with his females.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa Claus Run

In Hamburg, Germany. 2000 participants. Thru WSJ PhotoJournal

Why Would Anyone Do This To A Child?

Attention? Notoriety? Cruelty? Stupidity? Whatever, it's totally beyond me. And so sad. I guess some people are desperate to stir up trouble, hostility and narcissistic focus on themselves any way they can, and use their children as tools to do it. God help this young boy and the life he will surely lead.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blagojevich, Soul Brother of John Edwards

BROTHERS IN PAUL MITCHELL: I'm always suspicious of a man who's overly concerned with his hair. This guy is worse than John Edwards, but they're still cut from the same mold.

"Among those most relieved by Rod Blagojevich's indictment may, in fact, be his staff. According to The New York Times, in the run-up to his indictment, Blagojevich routinely showed up late and berated employees. Upon learning that an employee's step-father had suffered a stoke, Blago asked if that man's family would donate to his campaign; he screamed "You're trying to sabotage my career!" at staff members when his daughters took too long to put on their shoes, making him late for a tree-lighting ceremony; and, he was inordinately concerned about his hair, flying into a rage whenever his Paul Mitchell hair brush, which he referred to as "the football," was out of reach. The Times also reports that, in 2004, Blagojevich was certain that he would be chosen as John Kerry's vice presidential nominee, but he was unsure if he wanted the position. Today’s Chicago Sun-Times has a source saying that Blago, who met with his defense attorney yesterday, has decided not to resign."

---The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sunday, Tim Keller on the New Atheists and Three Kinds of Men

Below is my all-time favorite Tim Keller short video on three kinds of men. It's a theme he develops much more fully in his new book, The Prodigal God, Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, which I'll be blogging about after Christmas.

The Prodigal God, highly recommended.

Friday, December 12, 2008


THE ROYAL BALLET IN LONDON reheases the Nutcracker ahead of its Christmas opening. WSJ

Ma-doff! Ma-doff! Ma-doff!

UPDATE: BIG TIME FRAUD, Warnings ignored as far back as 1999.
Some of America’s wealthiest movers and shakers are facing ruin after the arrest of a Wall Street big hitter accused of the largest investor swindle perpetrated by one man. Shock and panic spread through the country clubs of Palm Beach and Long Island after Bernard Madoff, a trading power broker for more than four decades, allegedly confessed to a fraud that will cost his wealthy investors at least $50 billion – perhaps the largest swindle in Wall Street history. .. Many of his investors came from the enormously wealthy enclaves of Palm Beach, Florida and Long Island, New York, where people had invested billions in Mr Madoff’s firm for decades. He was a fixture on the Palm Beach social scene, and was a member of some of its most exclusive clubs, including the Palm Beach Country Club and Boca Rio Golf Club, where he drummed up much of his business.

The FBI claims that three senior employees of Mr Madoff’s investment firm turned up at his apartment on Wednesday to ask questions about the company’s solvency. Two of them are believed to be his sons, Andrew and Mark, who have worked for their father for two decades.

Someone in the hedge fund business told me today that in New York this is being described as a "financial holocaust."


If there's a business scandal that can top those of Worldcom, Enron or the more recent Fannie Mae house-of-cards, then hold on to your hat and pocketbook: an even bigger train wreck is coming down the tracks. Bernard Madoff, former chairman of NASDAQ and head of a so-called billion dollar hedge fund, was turned in by his sons then arrested by authorities Thursday after revealing his fund was nothing more than a great big Ponzi scheme with no real assets at all!

It's all a big lie, he confided to his sons earlier this week.

A smart money man told me this morning, "It's bigger than anything we've seen. Long Island will be wiped out. Destroyed. You can't image the scope of this. People who thought they were invested and are left holding the bag in this fund will lose everything, 100% on their money."

This is the kind of thing that will give money managers a black eye for years. And it will force investors be much more thorough in their due diligence before giving their money to managers to invest. It's a sad day for Wall Street and Main Street.

Detroit's Big Three Are Bankrupt, Obama's Three Chicago Crony/Advisers Need to Go Too


It's the best thing that can happen to the country for America's big three auto industry NOT to be bailed out by Congress. It will enable a massive restructuring of debt, declaration of bankruptcy and the opportunity for them and many of their workers to be absorbed into the newer, lither companies who make better cars and actually turn a profit in the process. It also spells the continuing demise of the greedy auto unions who nailed their coffins with demand upon demand. Good for GOP Senators who did not let this bailout happen Thursday. Letting them fail paves the way for restructure and success down the, er, road.

It's also best for the country if Mr. Obama now gets rid of his top three senior advisers David Axelrod, Rahm Emmanuel and Valeri Jarrett all of whom hail from and grew up politically in the cesspool of the Chicago Daley political machine. That way, he can start his new administration without the stench drifting eastward across America from the current Blagojevich scandel. The Chicago Three need to go back from whence they came. Even before all the questions are answered. The sooner the better. Michael Reagan has more today at Human Events.

The answer to all the above questions is just let them go. Portions of the auto companies will be re-constituted and come back in a better form for the industry, the consumers and the workers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sidwell Friends School in D.C. Gets the Obama Girls

Heard the running joke about about Sidwell Friends (where the Obamas' daughters will go in January)? It's where Episcopalians teach Jews how to be Quakers.


Let's Change the Subject

PLAY with a strong cup of coffee, and have a soulful day. Oh yeah.

THRU OneYearBibleblog today.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December Surprise?

WEDNESDAY UPDATE AND MORE ON FITZ THIS BREAKING news in Illinois is explosive and fraught with potential land mines for President-elect Obama. In a word, it's sleazy. Pathetic. Corrupt. Contemptible.

And people actually think a political messiah can come out of this pigsty? Really?

This conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Admit It

I'm one of those crazy, happy idiots who simply won't stop trying to do something until I've exhausted every possibility and worn myself out in the process. Sometimes it takes a very long time for me to figure out how, kind of like working a differential equation in days of old.

Take for instance, selecting a favorite YouTube video and putting it on my sidebar. Nothing in the gadgets department suited or allowed me to do it the way I wanted to do it. So I gave up for a while and then came back several more times to try something else. And failed again. Well tonight, I hit pay dirt! I got a video of my choice on my sidebar by going through the text gadget and found it works in HTML----sort of. I'm beside myself. Sure you can only see half the screen. But what does that matter if there's great music and you can see all you need to see on the left half!?

I'm going to have some fun with this during Christmas. Anyway if you'll scroll down on my sidebar on the right, you'll see a half YouTube screen. You can click on the little arrow and the video will start up the same as usual. Oh, joy! I have a new toy! A one-armed video.

Monday, Stock Markets Brighten

WOW! Power surge.

IN SPITE OF JOBLESS CLAIMS AND OTHER BAD ECONOMIC NEWS, LOOKS LIKE stock futures this morning point to a higher open, as news of Mr. Obama's massive infrastructure overhaul are taken as encouraging words to investors.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday 2 of Advent

SERMON: FAVOR AIN'T FAIR, James Lowe talks today at Bethel World Outreach in Brentwood, TN. From Mary's Christmas series.

WHAT IS ADVENT and why do we Christians observe it each year ahead of Christmas? A sermon by Dr. Bryan Chapell on the season of anticipation of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. The Coming of Christ was prophesied for over 2,000 years prior to that in the Old Testament.

Yet, Advent is also a time of anticipation of an even greater prophesy, the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time and the culmination of human history.

Connecting with the supernatural in quiet contemplation and Bible study is what Advent is designed for. Patience, stillness and quiet are the hallmarks of this time of the church year. So why do we do the opposite as we prepare for the Birth of Christ and scurry around, frazzled, tired, impatient and in a state of high anxiety?

Friday, December 5, 2008

There's No Business Like SEC College Football Business, As Tim Tebow Wows Again

UPDATE: Florida peels and dices Alabama 31-20 to take the SEC title. Tebow shines. The guy is amazing. In the beginning, middle and end, he gives credit where credit is certainly due--to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the power of Tebow, a power infinitely greater than himself. A power that makes everyone and everything around him better. He's genuinely an inspiring role model to so many kids---and all of us---who have little to look up to in today's culture. And he uses the pedestal fans have put him on for good and for God, rather than just for himself and his own aggrandizement.

GAME OF THE CENTURY TODAY as #1 Alabama (undefeated) and #4 Florida (10-point favorite) square off in Atlanta for SEC title championship. More.
I admit, I'm not the world's biggest college football fan, preferring instead basketball and baseball if given my druthers. However, it's undeniable that SEC football is the biggest gorilla on all playing fields of all conferences and in all sports in this country. If you can compete in SEC college conference football, you can more than compete anywhere.

I don't know a lot, but I sure know it's a very big deal in these parts and can appreciate what it's done for a lot of kids that play here in this conference. And I know who Tim Tebow is. So this afternoon, when I saw this piece in the WSJ, I read it with interest.

What the Rise of Southern Football says about America is about how population shifts (twenty-seven of the 50 fastest-growing metropolitan regions in the country in 2007 were in the South, while personal-income growth in the region outpaced the national average over the past decade), southern culture and rising affluence, especially in the southeast, have all contributed to college football's amazing popularity here.

Whereas football was once considered an elite sport of northern universities like Harvard and Nortre Dame, those old stereotypes have given way in recent decades to the SEC's meteoric rise which now sends more players to the NFL by far than the rust belt states all together.

A little Americana found in this very good piece,

"The sport's regional profile grew in the '60s and '70s when Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant won six national titles even as the South was being pilloried for its resistance to the Civil Rights movement. Wayne Flynt, a professor emeritus of history at Auburn, says Mr. Bryant's achievements were a point of pride even for Southerners from other states.

"The desire to win was so strong it even outweighed racial prejudice -- Mr. Bryant was finally able to freely recruit black players after his team suffered a beating in 1970 at the hands of Southern California, whose star running back, Sam Cunningham, was black.

"Nothing did more for racial integration in the South than sport and the military," Mr. Flynt says. Today, expectations are so high that despite the performances of Alabama and Florida, many consider this a down season for the conference because LSU and Georgia lost eight games combined.

"The breadth of the South's football culture creates a fanaticism that crosses all lines."

Here in Tennessee where I live, there are no greater more fanatic fans than those at UT and Big Orange Country. Pity the poor coach that has a losing season like the one there now. He doesn't last long before fans have his scalp and have him on the bus with a one-way ticket to ride.

Anyway, it's getting exciting down here in Dixie as the season draws to a finale and you can bet that I'll be with friends watching SEC football Saturday afternoon unless I want to spend the day alone. I'm there and proud of my good ole SEC conference.

A Table In Heaven With Sirio

FUN VIDEO of Thursday night's HBO party at Le Cirque from NY Post. (The Post is the only paper in NY that Sirio likes.)

In a world rocked by stock market woes unprecedented in modern times, ferreting out solid investments can be scarcer than hen's teeth, even before the past six months free fall. In addition, wanting an investment that might be considered fun today would probably require jettisoning yourself out of the known universe. Still there are always exceptions to the rule in looking for someplace with potential to put a little money, far away from the maddening crowd of Wall Street.Thanks to my son and a talented movie producer/director named Charlie Marquart (along with the infinitely talented Andrew Rossi) in New York, two-and-a-half years ago, I found the perfect combination of investment with the potential of some return and fun: the making of a little documentary movie about a very big character named Sirio Maccioni, his extensive Italian family and their fascinating inter generational family dynamics. Their tale was spun around the restaurant business they created over the past half-century in New York named Le Cirque.

The movie that I subsequently invested in was a low budget documentary that required a whole lot of patience and no guaranteed promise of return

But I liked the producers and found the subject matter fascinating and of great human interest. The guys were talented movie makers and so I held my breath and jumped in.

Last October, 2007, this little movie premiered in New York with the Maccionis on board and at their best. I was there and, yes, it was great fun on many levels. It was great seeing the principles on both sides of the camera and we were treated to a dinner at the new Le Cirque in the Bloomberg building. Still, the fellows hadn't sold our movie and so they had the difficult job of continuing to shopping it around at film festivals around the country and beyond. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it.

Sometime earlier this year, I finally got that call I had forgotten would ever come: Charlie was on the line with the good news that HBO was very interested in buying their documentary. He wanted me to know that it was the best possible outcome they/we could have ever hoped for. In any event I was happiest for them and the hard work they'd put into it over the past several years. HBO subsequently bought the movie and the rest is history.

I sadly couldn't be at the HBO party last night in New York because I had to come back to Nashville to take care of other matters before going back East next week.

But last night's HBO bash at Le Cirque in New York was a smashing success and I'm thrilled for the fellows that their work has come to successful fruition. It was chock full of beautiful people. And no doubt lots of fun. Thanks Charlie, Andrew, Whit and Sirio for the great ride. Movie debuts on HBO December 29. And well-worth watching. It's all about family.

Hey fellows, when and where's our next project?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Her Majesty the Queen Opens Parliament, While Feminist Attempts To Close Down Free Speech

UPDATE: More good open mic stuff from Governor Ed Rendell. Refreshing to say the least.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened Britain’s Parliament Wednesday. She arrived in no less than a horse-drawn carriage and wore a crown bedorned with nearly 3,000 diamonds! I say, she brings elegance and a civilizing, sobering influence to every occasion that requires the Rule of Law and civilized propriety. Thank heavens our world and England still has her to counterbalance our world of increasing poor taste. Long live the Queen!

Source, WSJ photog.

Meanwhile, the ever inelegant politically correct Nazi-like feminist Campbell Brown corrects and scolds Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell for his scandalous political incorrectness in saying what he thinks about Arizona Govenor Janet Napolitano's recent appointment by Mr. Obama as head of Homeland Security. How dare he opine that she has no life outside of her work and therefore would be a good choice? How dare he call it like he sees it?

Brown, as always, wants to insert her myth that women can have it all, all the time and seeks to expunge from all public dialogue any hint of a gendered world. Brown wants so badly for it to be true that there are no differences between roles men and women play in the world at certain times in their lives. No matter how Brown spins and scolds, Rendell has a very good point which is well-taken.

I beg to differ with this CNN drill sargeant and say Right on Ed! Let's call a spade a spade: There's no question that Janet will be more hard working because she doesn't have children and a husband at home making demands on her time. It's also been true of Secretary of State Condolezza Rice. And Hillary Clinton who has raised her daughter and has a husband that will be making demands on others in her many absences. All these women can indeed work 20 hours a day/365 days a year with impunity. There's an old saying that you can have 2 out of 3 of the above---husband, children work, but you can not have all three at once. We have to choose our priorities and can not have it all, all the time, no matter what Brown says and demands that we say.

Napolitano may not have much of a personal life, so she can pour herself into her job at HS and no doubt will do it well. I like it that she's a career woman with lots of time to work. Cause she and we are going to need it. More than we can possibly know.

One more thing. Brown's ideal world of political correctness where all sexism is neutered is a monumental bore. But Brown and post-feminist Nazis desire that people, especially men, not say what they really think. God help us that poor Larry Summers at Harvard said what he really thought, that most women don't have the same aptitudes as men for studying math and science back a few years ago. Remember? He was speaking his opinion and then backed down, got beat up by the likes of Brown and company and had to resign. Ed, don't let Hag Brown intimidate you. And thanks for saying what you think and hopefully really meaning it.

Campbell dear, it's not the danger of an open microphone that worries me. It's the greater danger of your kind of ridiculous attempts to make the world sexless, genderless and opinionless except for what you think is right. It's never going to happen. There are always going to be free thinkers and free speakers to make our lives more interesting and challenging, no matter what you demand from your public spankings. Ed, don't give in to her faux rebukes. Say more on that open mic! Makes life much more fun.

Good and Happy News from Fred!

THE NEW ECONOMIC CORRECTNESS: No one allowed to fail. Because Nanny noodle says so and owns the printing press.

THE LAWS OF FINANCIAL GRAVITY SUSPENDED BY OUR WISE GOVERNMENT LEADERS IN WASHINGTON (AND CALIFORNIA)! Enjoy Fred at his best with tongue in cheek, cigar in hand. This Christmas be extra nice to your kids. They haven't a clue what we're doing to them and their future.



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the Penn to Union Stations-Amtrak Line

UPDATE: Hip-hip hooray!

PACKING HEAT and K-9 dogs in the big stations and on the Amtrak lines---including my trains yesterday and today---and everywhere in between. Lots of police and National guardsmen taking threats on the East coast corridor very seriously, as well they should. It's only a matter of time. No time to let our guard down. The next few months through the inauguration and well beyond are ripe for a full-blown terrorist attack on American soil, especially in the East. And wherever there are large masses of people gathered in one place. I'm certinaly thinking of new ways to get in and out of Manhattan.

Oh yes it is. India was warned about threats to Mumbai and took them seriously for a while, then let their guard down. The rest is grisly world history.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Map of India, Pakistan and Kashmir With Background

The thorniest bone of contention between India and Pakistan for the past half century is the disputed region of Kashmir where Muslim dissidents have attempted to separate their territory from India which is Hindu and controls two-thirds of Kashmir. Pakistan which is Muslim controls the rest of Kashmir. More than 20,000 people have died in separatist conflict in the region since armed insurgency began in 1989. India has accused Pakistan of providing material aid to unhappy separatist militants and terrorists, a charge Pakistan denies.

More background of the long conflict between Pakistan and India from Wikipedia:

Since the Partition of India by the British Empire in August 1947, which resulted in the creation of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, there have been three major wars, one minor war and numerous armed skirmishes between the two countries. In each case, except the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where the dispute concerned East Pakistan, the casus belli was the disputed Kashmir region. More.

Is Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world, as in it's a Muslim country with nuclear weapons?

Sunday, Reading Bible Prophecy With Commentary

I'm now reading through the entire Bible for the second time in as many years. It is thrilling and difficult at the same time to take thousands of years of Salvation History in the context that it is meant to be read. Too often we lift, read and pepper Holy Scripture into our daily lives like euphemisms and happy sayings that have little or no meaning except to make us feel good (or others feel bad) for a short time. Real Bible study shines a stunning light on world history and God's plan of salvation to all people.

Yet, true Bible understanding and scholarship involves much deep digging, hard work and expert explanation that puts our study in historical and Biblical context, taking into account the language it was written in. And real Bible study is meant to transform our lives over the long haul into faithful and obedient servants of the Triune God. In other words, to make us followers of Jesus Christ.

A reading today from Daniel 7 on OneYearBible blog (linked on my sidebar) is a case in point of the need for deeper study and commentary. This is a dazzling, prophetic and direct vision of Daniel during the reign of Babylonian king Belshazzar, at least ten years after the death of King Nebuchadnezzar. You may remember that God transformed King Nebuchadnezzar over time into His servant after turning him into a wild animal creature. Daniel was there interpreting the king's dreams and giving him prophesy all along this process.

But in chapter 7 of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar is dead and the prophet has his own famous vision of the four beasts, similar to a vision given St. John in Revelation. It almost scared poor Daniel to death. So during the dream, he asks God to explain it to him. Even prophets need help in understanding God's deeper meaning.

I don't pretend to be a Bible scholar. But I think I'm learning the difference between good Bible commentary and bad. And to my eyes, there's no better Bible commentary than Bob Deffinbaugh's scholarly work, often linked at OneYearBibleblog. I couldn't have made much sense out of today's Old Testament reading without Bob's expert help. So if you're interested, then have a read of Daniel 7 (or, better yet, the whole book of Daniel) and then take time to read the accompanying commentary on this important chapter that predicts world history that's unfolding even today. Bob Deffinbaugh is at his most scholarly best here and I and we are the better for it.

Again, Bible studies are much more productive with expert commentary, and prayer, than without. Like anything else done well, it's worth the time and effort that we put into it. It is meant to humble us, scare us but most of all encourage us beyond our wildest dreams, us faithful servants of a faithful all-powerful, all-loving God, even unto Eternal Life.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blogging Tidbits, Over Breakfast



It's always fun to stay in the homes of friends and family rather than hotels when away from home. And when they're interesting, knowledgeable people, people who are virtual walking encyclopedias of history, then it makes it even more fun and often fascinating for me---the country mouse ---to be around such erudite people. They have a way of putting the present in such salient perspective.

(I'm now back in D.C. for a few days, before going back to New York before coming back to D.C then running back to Nashville before coming back to the East. You get the drift and the driftiness of this. So I plan to blog sporadically at best.)

This morning over breakfast one of my favorite relatives turned to me as he smeared strawberry jam on his raisin toast, "I say, my dear, this attack in Mumbai, India worries me a lot."

It's awful, I responded over my poached egg on a bed of greens. But tell me why it worries you so?

Don't you remember the history of the start of World War I? he quizzed knowing there would be a blank look on my face and knowing he would be asked to elaborate.

Actually I did not recall what I had learned in school about all that. I sat straight up in my chair waiting for what was sure to be a history lesson I needed to hear.

Well, he began, it all started with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in 1914... from there the topic turned to the Serbs and Croatians of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then to the Russian Czar and the German Kaiser. From there it went on to all the other countries that took sides as our world teetered on the edge of the abyss.

I sat transfixed for forty minutes as my relative recounted history as if we were in a time travel machine. As I cleared the table and scraped dried egg off the dishes, we had to put the rest of the conversation on hold until a few hours later when I drove with him to see a friend in Shepherdstown, West Virginia on a chilly, sunny November afternoon.

As I clicked on my seat belt, I asked the question he'd been waiting for: So how does all this World War I history that started with the assassination of the Archduke and heir to the Austrian throne relate to what's happening in India today?

And then he began to instruct me again: "There's an uneasy peace now in Iraq, thanks to your man, George Bush. Al-Qaeda has been disgraced and in essence is defeated there. They know that if the Americans turn there sights on Afghanistan now, as Mr. Obama has threatened to do, they'll be defeated there too. Remember, Bin Laden has purchased the loyalties of many unhappy dissidents there and in Pakistan.

"So what better game plan to forestall and divert the attention of Americans in Afghanistan than for al-Qaeda radicals to provoke a war between Pakistan and India. In July, 1914, the Serbian government engineered the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand to undermine the position of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the Balkans. The resulting missteps by the European powers ---Germany, France, Russia, Italy, Austria and England---destroyed four ancient empires (German, Russian, Turkish and Austro-Hungarian) and brought forth the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini.

"Do we stand at a like-crossroads in the Sub-Continent today? Is this war? Again, it's to al-Qaeda's advantage to create global chaos wherever it can . And war between Indian and Pakistan would put the ball in play and divert U.S. and world attention away from Afghanistan."

As we drove on I started to understand what he was getting at and found myself agreeing with his deeper concerns over what has happened in India the past few days. Could he be right? Both of these countries are minor nuclear powers with huge populations. And if Pakistan were destabilized even more, how could we Americans even get thorough to Afghanistan? If war breaks out, who would we support? Which country would we be allied with?

The options were increasingly depressing on this chilly, sunny day outside Washington, D.C. even as the national scaffolding (no pun intended) was being constructed for the great inauguration in front of the Capitol in January. What will this country face as we go into a new administration with untried leadership who wants to be popular all over the world? With an axis of chaos and evil that will stop at nothing to destabilize Western civilization. Will Bush one day be seen as the hero he is in foreign policy and ever be appreciated for having prevented another terrorist attack on American soil? Will we be so fortunate in the next administration?

It's been a long day of talking, thinking and learning about history from my very smart relative for me since breakfast. Tomorrow, I think I'll just take some wheat toast in my room alone. I want a few hours of peace and quiet.....and wait another day or two for my next history lesson over poached eggs. Too much hisitorical perspective be a wonderful and very disquieting thing to behold.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Capturing the Sun

With Rome's St. Peter's Basilica in the background, over 1,000 solar panels have been installed on the football-field sized roof nearby for heating, cooling and lighting needs at the massive complex.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankfulness And Its Opposite: A Deep Sense of Entitlement

One of the great benefits of wandering up and down the East coast as I am now is that I get to hear two of this country's finest evangelical ministers in person, the John Newtons of our time if you will: Lon Solomon of McLean Bible Church in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, and Tim Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City. And so it was last weekend, I managed to arrive road weary and hear both men deliver sermons and Biblical truths to live by that I greatly needed to hear.

Shortly before going last Sunday evening to meet my new grandson and see and pray with his tired, proud parents at Beth Israel Hospital in New York, I ducked into a late afternoon service at Hunter College where Tim Keller was scheduled to speak. As I took my seat, an associate pastor was giving an explanation about gratitude and its opposite ingratitude before leading the congregation in a "Prayer of Confession".

Ahead of Thanksgiving, this young pastor talked about the practice of giving personal gratitude to God as well as its opposite, the sin of ingratitude. Rather than referring to its opposite as ingratitude, he called it our deep sense of entitlement. And that's what really got my attention.

Ideally, all people should have a resounding, overwhelming and never ending sense of gratitude for what Christ has done for us personally, and all mankind, on the Cross. His generous offer of forgiveness of our myriad sins and gift of eternal life should leave us breathless with thankfulness and praise no matter what our life's circumstances.

But it doesn't and we don't.

Instead, most of us have the opposite of gratitude: we carry on with a sense of entitlement as to how we think our lives, our close relationships, our work, our resources should be. We think we know what we must have to be grateful and happy. We also think we're owed a comfortable, easy life, especially because we think we're good people. If things don't go the way we think they should, we rebel, give up on God and live lives of depression, addiction, anger and quiet, or not-so-quiet, desperation. One way or another we find a ways to get mad and stay mad. And never let it go of what should have, could have, would have been. Whatever it is. We never really move on.

Our deep sense of entitlement in essence says to God, not Your Way, Father, but my way. I know what's best for me, so You'd better give it to me now, or make it up to me for what happened in the past.....or else. Rarely if ever does it occur to us that what has happened to us is God's way of bringing us in closer relationship to Him.

Our circumstances don't mean of course that we don't try to change them or better ourselves, seek healing for our loved ones and work for social justice. But it does mean when difficult things come down and are accomplished in our lives, we need to look for deeper meanings and come back to gratitude and understanding through a process of maturing, forgiveness and acceptance. Often in time, we find the blessings in disguise for our losses and pain. And our despair turns us back to God and a continuing relationship with Him.

Today, are we living more in a state of true, exciting gratitude, or a sense of ungrateful entitlement? Does our hope and thankfulness involve the circumstances of our present lives, or does it include hope of redemption and eternal life in the next? All great questions to ponder as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, 2008.

As I ponder these questions, I want to finish with the Prayer of Confession from the program at Redeemer last Sunday:


Prayer of Confession


Almighty God, you are generous in abundance. You have given to us gifts that we do not deserve. You have called us from death to life, granted us forgiveness through the death and resurrection of your Son, Jesus Christ, given us the Holy Spirit, and made us your children.

All the Congregation:

You have provided for us, both spiritually and materially. Yet we have failed to be thankful and to rejoice in your goodness. We have ignored you and neglected to give you the praise that is due your name.

Forgive us for our ingratitude. Give us eyes that see your hand at work in all areas of our life. Enable us to realize that every good thing comes from You. And deepen our gratitude so that we might serve and obey you with undivided and joyful hearts. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Surprise! And We Thought Today Was The Baby Shower

Life has an amazing way of happening in spite of our best laid plans. I came to New York early Sunday to attend a baby shower for my beautiful new daughter, seven months pregnant. By the time I arrived at Penn Station, the baby was on the way and nothing anyone could do could stop him.

Now, he's here! He's a little baby boy, two months early, but we think and pray he's healthy and going to be fine. My son says he came out screaming. It's better than a baby shower! I'm on my way to Beth Israel to see them and him now. God bless this child, now 4.5 pounds, and his happy, exhausted parents. November 23, what a perfect day to be born! If you have an extra prayer to spare, then please send it their way. And thank you.

UPDATE: INTERESTING THEORY, My son tells me that every---with emphasis on every--- baby born Sunday at Beth Israel Hospital was premature. He thinks it's because of all the stress in the world financial markets etc over the past few months. Sounds possible to me: both my son and daughter-in-law work in the financial sector. But I have another theory: it's an early, yet another reason to be thankful for God's incredible goodness, no matter what happens from here on.

Sunday Reflection


At the present time...the beauty of the world is almost the only way by which we can allow God to penetrate us.... A sense of beauty, although mutilated,...is present in all the preoccupations of secular life. The soul’s natural inclination to love beauty is the trap God most frequently uses in order to win it.... The beauty of the world is the co-operation of divine wisdom in creation.The beauty of the world is Christ’s tender smile for us coming through the matter. He is really present in the universal beauty.

The love we feel for the splendor of the heavens, the plains, the sea and the mountains, for the silence of nature which is borne in upon us its thousands of tiny sounds, for the breath of the wind or the warmth of the sun, this love of which every human being has at least an inkling, is an incomplete, painful love, because the beauty of the world makes us yearn for some universal beauty...that does not seem to respond to us.

— Simone Weil

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sunday: John Newton's Abolitionist Campaign Against Slavery

NEWTON BECAME A PUBLIC campaigner for the abolitionist movement when in January 1788 he published his sensational and highly influential pamphlet "Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade."

Remorse was one of the motives behind Newton's decision to publish "Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade." "I hope it will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders," he wrote in the pamphlet's opening paragraphs, declaring that even if his testimony was unnecessary, "yet perhaps I am bound in conscience to take shame to myself by a public confession."

Newton's testimony was of vital importance in converting public opinion to the abolitionist cause. He himself clearly had this motivation in mind when he prepared the pamphlet, for it was skillfully constructed to have a political as well as a moral and humanitarian appeal.

Newton may well have had politics in mind when he put forward as "the first evil" of the slave trade the loss of life among English seamen. Knowing that the Parliament of a maritime nation traditionally gave a high priority to the safely of its sailors and seafarers, Newton began the arguments in his pamphlet with a grim catalog of the causes of Englishmen's deaths on board slave ships. Terrible weather conditions, African fevers, fatal diseases, deliberate poisonings, and violent insurrections by the slaves were said by Newton to result in an annual death toll of over fifteen hundred sailors. It was not clear how this statistical calculation had been reached, but the figure was given credibility by Newton's firsthand experiences of the danger he described.

The second argument in "Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade" was a moral denunciation of the corrupting effects of being engaged in such a business. "I know of no method of getting money, not even that of robbing for it upon the highway, which has so direct a tendency to efface the moral sense, to rob the heart of every gentle and humane disposition, and to harden it, like steel, against all impressions of sensibility," declared Newton. With his old shipboard diaries for the years 1750-1754 beside him as he wrote, he described in horrendous detail the brutalizing treatment and tortures meted out to the one hundred thousand or more slaves who were transported each year in English vessels....

Newton asserted that African women deserved to be respected as much as their European equivalents in matter such as personal modest and honor was a revolutionary view for its time. But he and William Wilberforce and other leading figures in the abolitionist movement knew that they were in the business of overturning misguided attitudes toward the African people as well as putting an end to what Newton in the final line of the pamphlet called a "commerce so iniquitous, so cruel, so oppressive, so destructive as the African Slave Trade."

In his description of the conditions on board a slave ship, Newton did not pull his punches. He said that English sailors were more severe and cruel to the Africans than the sailors of any other nation. He explained that an English slave ship of one hundred tons usually carried over two hundred slaves, "always in chains, locked at intervals to the deck." This overcrowding resulted in a high death rate.

Communicating the butcheries and atrocities of the slave trade to Parliament was a task that Newton carried out with formidable power and effectiveness. In his writings and in his appearances as a witness his evidence against the trade carried great weight. This was because he combined unchallengeable authenticity, dignified restraint, and moral authority. These were the qualities that brought him close to Wilberforce's group of prayerful friends in south London who became known as the Clapham Sect. In cooperation with them, Newton played a crucial role in the abolitionist movement, particularly between 1787 and 1790. but his work for abolition was interrupted by a sad personal loss----the death of his beloved wife, Polly.

---Jonathan Aitken, John Newton, From Disgrace to Amazing Grace

A Shining Gas Station On a Hill

A wise friend in Colorado has a great profundity he likes to spout when faced with a difficult decision: When you come to a fork in the road, Take it!

And so it was late last night, as I was driving up I-81 in Southern Virginia in 20-something degree weather and suddenly looked down at my gas gauge to see it almost empty. The gas light was on, I had no idea for how long. The bankrupt needle was leaning to the far left (no pun intended, no really) and I realized I had to get off at the next exit or risk the ordeal of calling AAA or the highway patrol.

Then I saw the exit up ahead with a sign for the only gas station in sight:

.....citgo......oh dear.

A fork in the road. But would I, should I, could I take it? Buying gas from Hugo or risk most certainly running out?

Ahhh, when you see a fork in the road, take it! I went through a mental lock down. Did I have warm clothes on and more in the car? Check. Gloves in the front seat? Check! Leftover peanuts with M&Ms floating around the front seat and few more on the floor? Check. Water? Check. My cell phone? Check. And my little travel Bible and some sensational poetry for inspiration for whatever else might happen on this dark upon darkest winter night? Check.

I had enough to take the right fork! Yes, yes that fork and drive on drove on! On through the wind! On through the rain! AND I'LL NEVER DRIVE ALONE! NO, I'LL NEVER DRIVE ALONE!

No way was I buying anything from Hugo at no time, know what I mean?

But would I make it to the next exit? I drove on, on a wing and a prayer.

And then.... then.... in a few minutes I saw it. ..... A shining exit on a hill. With a lite-up gas station. Brighter than a Christmas tree! A CHEVRON gas station. Whoopee! I was going to make it! It was pedal to the medal! And so all ended well on that cold and windy night in Virginia.

I filled up shivering and thankfully, very thankfully drove on.

But, gentle reader, there's a moral to this story. I hope you'll forgive my indiscretion in giving it to you bluntly, as in less than subtle terms. I warn you, it's not very lady-like. But I consider it my patriotic duty. I did my part and took one small step of protest, one small step forward for mankind. And that I might encourage you also to do yours in whatever small ways you can, as Dr. Helen has also suggested in going John Galt. So along with turning off the MSM tellie and lots of other ideas, here's my suggestion to add to the list:

And now, you know.......the rest of the story.....

This post is dedicated to the friend I met on I-81 two-and-a-half years ago, who shall remain anonymous....except to that friend. What a trip!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

First Snow

SNOWY WEATHER comes to Red Square, a month before the winter solstice. Red Square

Meanwhile Friday, John Tamny writes for RealClearMarkets:

Conventional wisdom says Henry Paulson's TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) was billed as necessary to avert an alleged run on the banks. In truth, the run on bank shares occurred after the imposition of Paulson's disastrous idea with Citigroup, Goldman and Bank of America in freefall ever since this plan was foisted on the banking industry and American people. This shouldn't surprise us given the basic reality that government money always weakens its unlucky recipients. Most shocking is that there was some consensus that non-economic lending got us here, but instead of allowing tight credit to weed out the bad, the conditions set to receive TARP funds meant banks would engage in more non-economic lending, thus setting the stage for the next crisis...

So to the extent that federal funds allegedly saved certain banks in the near-term, those same banks will surely pay over the long-term as the best and brightest exit the industry. There are no numbers supporting this yet, but it would be folly to assume that Goldman Sachs will recruit as effectively (Microsoft’s Bill Gates long noted that GS served as his greatest competitor when it came to attracting fecund minds) going forward considering that handsome compensation was one of the firm’s greatest calling cards. Goldman’s stock price surely to some degree reflects a future that is less bright...

Speaking once again to the truth that there’s no federal money absent strings attached, Treasury has made it clear that banks must aggressively lend in order to lift the economy out of the ditch. That being the case, it’s very apparent that to the degree banks comply, more non-economic lending will materialize such that the seeds of the next financial crisis are being planted right now...

Worse, governmental demands that banks lend with no regard to prevailing market conditions are an impoverishing concept. How soon we forgot that a successful capitalist system is reliant on the efficient deployment of capital..... With bank shares continuing to fall, the best long-term scenario we can hope for is that thanks to the federal government’s shocking ineptitude as economic backstop, we’ll have historical precedent to bolster the non-intervention argument the next time time around; "next time" perhaps coming sooner than we think given a Treasury that has pushed money out to banks while shouting, "Lend!"

So while it’s surely nice to think that government money borrowed from the private sector can somehow smooth out periods of economic uncertainty, TARP’s impressive failure shows yet again that far from stimulating, government “help” is an oxymoron that bats 1.000 when it comes to scaring away investors.

Bank Share Collapse Shows Failure of TARP.

Is TARP really a TRAP?

Haleigh Poutre's amazing recovery from severe abuse and death, through Michelle Malkin on the sanctity of life.