Friday, July 25, 2008

Batman and Bush

Found this interesting article online by Andrew Klavan, comparing Batman to President Bush. I think it is worth reading, so I have cut and pasted it, also with a link to the original site:

A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .

Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a "W."
Warner Bros. Pictures

There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

"The Dark Knight," then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year's "300," "The Dark Knight" is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.

Conversely, time after time, left-wing films about the war on terror -- films like "In The Valley of Elah," "Rendition" and "Redacted" -- which preach moral equivalence and advocate surrender, that disrespect the military and their mission, that seem unable to distinguish the difference between America and Islamo-fascism, have bombed more spectacularly than Operation Shock and Awe.

Why is it then that left-wingers feel free to make their films direct and realistic, whereas Hollywood conservatives have to put on a mask in order to speak what they know to be the truth? Why is it, indeed, that the conservative values that power our defense -- values like morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right -- only appear in fantasy or comic-inspired films like "300," "Lord of the Rings," "Narnia," "Spiderman 3" and now "The Dark Knight"?

The moment filmmakers take on the problem of Islamic terrorism in realistic films, suddenly those values vanish. The good guys become indistinguishable from the bad guys, and we end up denigrating the very heroes who defend us. Why should this be?
The answers to these questions seem to me to be embedded in the story of "The Dark Knight" itself: Doing what's right is hard, and speaking the truth is dangerous. Many have been abhorred for it, some killed, one crucified.

Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They're wrong, of course, even on their own terms.

Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don't always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless.

The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them -- when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.

When heroes arise who take those difficult duties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, "He has to run away -- because we have to chase him."

That's real moral complexity. And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes men must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and that while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be heroes, true heroes often must slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised -- then and only then will we be able to pay President Bush his due and make good and true films about the war on terror.

Perhaps that's when Hollywood conservatives will be able to take off their masks and speak plainly in the light of day.

Mr. Klavan has won two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America. His new novel, "Empire of Lies" (An Otto Penzler Book, Harcourt), is about an ordinary man confronting the war on terror.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Life In the Slow Lane

Not much going on in my life right now. I did get hired for a job at the newspaper here, The Morning Journal. After a couple of days being trained, I didn't feel I could do the job - too many things to do with machinery to keep it running smoothly. They called me back to start tomorrow doing something else, but it isn't full time, so if I stay, I will need to find something else.

I have been extremely discouraged and depressed with the job hunt already. I am sure the Sunday work issue is why I haven't heard back from Walmart and Home Depot - guess both stores are guilty of discriminating against my religious beliefs. Another thing is jobs that only want people with experience - found a few I was interested in, but since they wanted people with experience in the field, and I had the way, how DOES a person get experience in some fields if they only hire people with experience...............Anyway, finances and job issues are about having me pull my hair out, if I had any. Add to that the frustration of still not getting my piano sold.

This week-end will be a full house here. Mom watches my 3 nieces most Friday nights through Saturday afternoon, and this week-end they will be here. Paul and Pam are having a VBS at another church, and have some other things going on this week-end, so they want the boys to stay with Grammy and Papa - and Uncle Mark - for a few days, so we will also be getting them some time Friday, and they will stay through Monday. The only foreseen problem might be Nathan, the youngest. He may not like being away from his parents. Josiah and Benjy are excited and will love the time here.

Sadly, now that I have very limited funds, I am finding books and CDs right and left that I want to buy, but have to save my money, so I am only buying really cheap stuff when I do buy. One exception will have to be the new Booth Brothers' CD releasing early next month. :-) That is a must have.

It is no wonder there is so much marital problems even among Christian performers. I like a few songs here and there by the Christian group Avalon. I was on their site, and the group photo disgusted me. The group consists of a married couple, Greg and Jenna Long, and 2 other members, a man and woman, not married to each other. The picture has Jenna Long with her arm and head on the other guy, Jeremi, and the other woman, Melissa, has her head on, and her arm through the arm, of Greg Long. I know. Nothing can happen from a picture, but good grief! These people travel and sing together, and why invite problems that could come about from physical closeness as in the picture? Check it out: Avalon

In other case you missed it due to our liberal biased media ignoring it, the "new messiah", Barak Hussein Obama, as Rush Limbaugh calls him - thinks the United States has 58 states - he said he had campaigned in " 57 states, with one left to go". Yes, the man running for president said that. Can you imagine if a conservative had said that? It would be front page news. Everyone from Jay Leon to "I don't give a Whoopi Goldberg" would be making jokes about it on the news. They would write books about it - no stretch, they did about Dan Quayles and his potato mistake. For some reason, B Hussein Obama is untouchable.

Well, that's enough news for the day. Signing off!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Inconvenience of the ACLU

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) claims that they are not anti-Christian. I beg to differ. If you look at their list of "victories", the vast majority of them are cases they won against Christians, Christian symbols, etc.

When I moved to Indiana, I applied at Target, and a manager came to interview me immediately after I submitted my application via a computer there. The first thing she asked me was if I could work Sundays, and when I said I couldn't, and why, she said they couldn't hire me because they needed people who could work Sundays.

The ACLU is lower than a snake's belly, but I decided to see what they would do for me. A discriminated against Christian. Answer? Nothing. Nada. Their reply was that if if was an "inconvenience" for the store have an employee not work Sundays, that there was no legal grounds for a cry of discrimination.

Inconvenience huh? What about the inconvenience of the city of Stow, OH a few years back. The city seal was a 4 part. It had a t with 4 symbols spread out in each corner. One of those symbols was a cross, so of course the evil ACLU took the city to court and won. The cross part of the seal had to be taped over on police cars and other places in public until it could be painted over and/or removed. Sounds like an inconvenience to me.

And just lately in the news: the case against CBS for the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake stunt was thrown out, and the ACLU is cheering the decision. What about the inconvenience of people who didn't want to see Janet Jackson's breast in between watching football? Forget that, free speech rules! (Unless of course, you are a Christian speaking out against anything the ACLU is for).

And of course, the biggie: The 10 Commandments. A lot of inconvenience there. And not to forget the inconvenience of countless people having to pay lawyers and court costs just because the evil ACLU decided the rights of some poor atheistic type of person was being trampled.

Inconvenience only becomes an issue when it is the most discriminated against minority is the issue. A white Christian. If I told the ACLU I was gay, Muslim, black, Hispanic, or an illegal alien, they would battle to the death for my rights, but since I am a Christian white male, I have no rights, and all they worry about is inconveniencing someone else.

Since my move, I have been applying for work several places. I have great retail experience, and hoped to get on in that line of work, but since I put not available on Sundays on my applications, I never hear anything. I can't prove it, but am sure that is the issue. A friend of mine was halfway through phone interview at Walmart a while back and the woman talking to him was impressed with what he would be able to do until she looked at his application and saw no Sunday work. That ended the chance. She told him they needed people to work Sundays. So based on that, I think it would be safe to say Walmart has not called me because of the same issue.

But even if I had concrete proof that Home Depot, Walmart, and other places wouldn't hire me because for religious reasons, would the ACLU care? Would they fight this discrimination? No. They hate Christians and don't care about our rights. Our rights are the ones they daily battle against. If I were a Muslim wanting my holy day off, they would fight for that. But a Christian holy day doesn't matter.

So do I believe their excuse that if it is inconvenient for a store or place of employment to refuse me employment if it is an inconvenience to have me off on Sundays so I can go to church and follow what the Bible says? Not one iota. The ACLU loves to inconvenience people, as long as the people facing the inconvenience are we Christians.

Somebody needs to take these stores to court, and win. Then they might be afraid to discriminate against me, and others who share my beliefs, but that won't happen in my lifetime.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Go To Canada to Get Free and Stupid

I was reading on a news site about a US military deserter that our wonderful neighbor Canada is sending back to the US, unusual because they normally allow any deserters to stay in their country and take up residence. As you would expect, there are many comments on the story, most of them Canadians, and most of them stupid people who are mad because of it. I don't get that - I sure wouldn't want a deserter as my neighbor, but of course it is Bush's fault, and the poor guy should be allowed to follow his conscience..........

But aren't they all missing something here? When a man, or woman, signs on for the military, they are giving up the right to do what they want to do. They are now the property of Uncle Sam, and must do what the US wants them to do. I have absolutely no sympathy for these people who sign on, and then decide they don't want to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, and run for the Canadian border. That's pretty much like a fireman running from the first fire he has to fight, or a policeman running from the first altercation he faces...........I don't know if these losers sign up for the benefits of being in the military, i.e. college paid, etc, and think they can avoid any actual military action, but come on, get a life!

I have to wonder if the US really has any friends anymore. Canada is supposedly our ally, yet they are normally so willing to harbor people deserting our military? I don't think so. And from reading the comments on the news site I was on, it seems more Canadians than not, side with the deserters and are willing to harbor them. Wonder how they would feel if the shoe was on the other foot? The US harboring Canadians? I don't think they would view it favorably.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Christian Rip Offs

I'm bored again, so it is time to address one of my pet peeves: high shipping and handling fees. Is it Christian to charge way more than it costs to ship an item? Any time you question it, people always bring up that nebulous word, "handling". Ok, how much does it really cost to "handle" a package?

Case in point: there is a new group I like,
33Miles Christian, with a country sound, who is coming out with their second CD in 2 months. If you pre-buy it, you get a better price, and can download the whole album before the release date. I decide to check it out and see what the price is. It takes me to Lifeway Christian Stores website to pre-buy it. Price: $9.97, shipping discount, $3.00. I' m like, awesome! They must ship it for free! I go to the next screen and it has taken the $3 off, making the CD $6.97 - very cool, then I look down, and it says estimated shipping, $6.00! You have got to be kidding. It still costs under $2 to mail a CD. Add in 50-60 cents for your padded envelope, you could still mail a CD for not much more than $2. I am sure they will tell me it is the "handling" charges that make up the difference. OK, lets look at "handling" charges:

Bookstores and places of business get their shipments picked up, so no gas surcharge needed here. So, we are talking just paying an employee to pack it. How long does it take to put a CD in an envelope and address it? 5 minutes? Say they are getting paid $8, I'd say good pay for that job, that means they get paid about 65 cents to package the CD, add that on to what it is costing, and you might hit $3 or close to it - where does the other $3 go? Oh - that goes into their drawer, and is extra money that they don't have to pay taxes on, because it was for "Shipping".

People on ebay, even Christian ebayers, are notorious for this. I have seen people charging $100 to ship an Ipod, and doing the sell price low - that way, Ebay only gets a cut of the selling price, and any money after the actual shipping cost is pure profit.......of course, not all high shipping and handling fees on Ebay are that much over, but a lot do a few dollars more on CDs than they need.

Thing is, we aren't supposed to take advantage of people, and when does charging a "handling" fee become that? I am careful when I sell, and try to not go over the actual shipping charge very much, but what about the people who are charging $4 and more to ship you a CD they have a couple of bucks in the cost of mailing it - isn't that wrong? And you really run into it with mail ordering from companies, even Christian companies.

I will put a plug in here for
CBD. They charge a certain amount based on dollar amount purchased. If you buy a bunch of cheap clearance items, it has got to cost them more sometimes to mail out the stuff than what they charged. And THAT impresses me.

I know even with the $6 shipping of the CD from Lifeway, it is still a fairly good deal, but it is the principle of the thing. I refuse to pay them $6 and be ripped off on shipping. I'd rather buy it at Walmart for $11.99, or better yet, get it even cheaper through a CD club. Lifeway Christian Stores has lost me as a customer on this, and any future mail orders.

An even better deal is companies who offer free shipping. Amazon does that with orders of $25 or more, and
CBD has been doing it with $50 or more offers. Bring on the free shipping, and down with overcharging!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Broken Ones

This isn't a blog, just posting the lyrics to one of my current favorite songs, sung by the Talley Trio. I think it is a really cool song:

Maggie came home one day with a raggedy Raggedy Ann
She said, "Mama, look what I found in the neighbor's garbage can"
Had a missing left arm and a right button eye hanging by a thread
She carried it gently up to her room and laid in on her bed

She loves the broken ones, the ones that need a little patching up
She sees a diamond in the rough and makes it shine like new
It really doesn't take that much, a willing heart and a tender touch
If everybody loved like she does; there'd be a lot less broken ones

Twenty years later in a shelter on eighteenth avenue
A seventeen year old girl shows up all black and blue
Needle tracks in her left arm; almost too weak to stand
She says, "I'm lost and I need help" as Maggie takes her hand
And says, "Come on in"


If you call her an angel, she'll be quick to say to you
She's just doing what the one who died for her would do
Love the broken ones, the ones that need a little patching up
See the diamond in the rough and make it shine like new
It really doesn't take that much, a willing heart and a tender touch
If everybody loved like He does, there'd be a lot less broken ones

Tag: If everybody loved like He does, there'd be a lot less broken ones

Possibilities and Carpet

I may have a job possibility: one of Mom's bosses - she has 4 - asked about me this morning. He later told Mom he couldn't find my application, and wanted me to go down and fill out another, which I did - its only a mile. Sounds promising. Another of her bosses said she would get it. I don't know that I want to work at a newspaper place really bad, but it would be better than nothing.

Vicki and Steve picked up some new carpet for their bedroom, and since we have a carpet installer in the family - Dad - they called on him to lay it. I have helped him a lot in the past - not good enough to do it on my own - so I helped. I figured it was volunteer, but they insisted on giving Dad and I both money and said if we didn't take it, they would get us gift cards, so I came away $40 richer than I was before. :-)

In other news, B. Hussein Obama thinks we all need to learn Spanish. What about all the Chinese, and other people over here? Sounds like he is really going after the Hispanic vote. I am a firm believer if people come to the US to live, then learn English - and I feel the same about people going to any country - learn THEIR language, don't expect the country to learn yours! Wonder how many languages B. Hussein Obama knows.........

My good friend Cindy goes on quite a bit about the Booth Brothers. I have to agree with her - they are awesome. I am still impressed with the concert we went to of theirs', and hope to see them again before I get much older. :-) Speaking of which, I got a very good deal on an older CD of theirs' on Ebay, One of His Own, unfortunately a pre-Jim Brady CD, but from the sound clips I listened to on Amazon, it sounds like a pretty good CD. Cindy, I'd loan it to you if I were still in Indiana. :-) And phooey on the people who comment on your blog about your liking them. :-) Just a few short weeks til their new CD comes out! Hope I can afford it when it does!

Speaking of affording things, I have decided I want the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia set - 5 big books. CBD is selling them for $59.99, 65% off retail. I found a new set on Ebay starting out at $24.99 with $6 or $7 shipping - don't know how high they will go. I am torn - I'd like to buy them, but don't know if I should with my limited funds.

I have been into the Christian Bookstore where I used to work a few times since I came back, mainly to chat with a former co-worker Kimmy and I are both fond of. The place looks worse than when Kimmy and I worked there. These people stack books everywhere. And now they own 2 stores and split shipments, and put books going to that store right in front of the check-out counter. There is still room to check-out, but good grief! And the counters are covered with books and all kinds of stuff - it amazes me that anyone would shop there! I did get a book there today that looks good by William Bennett for $5, America the Last Hope, or something like that.

Well, I may as well close while I am at a loss for words, before I find them and rattle on like I so often do. :-)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Thoughts of the Unemployed, and Funny Things Kids Say

Sure has been a happening week here with Paul and Pam and the boys here all week. Thursday, we left the 2 older boys with my other sister while we went to Canton, OH to shop at a used clothing store my family loves. It was closed - for good, and without warning - guess the employees didn't know til they showed up for work - so we went to a different one. I got 4 shirts. :-) We then hit Belden Village Mall so my mom and Pam could take advantage of a great sale at Christopher and Banks - what is it with that store and women?!

Coming back, we picked up the boys, and also the nieces, as they were spending the night. We all went to the pizza buffet for supper - that poor waitress!

Friday, Mom, Dad, Paul, Pam, and I bravely set out for the Rogers flea market with 6 kids. Man, was it busy and chaotic - always bad on a holiday. I only bought some sponges to wash dishes with. Joey said the funniest thing while there. He is almost 7, and is best buds with his cousin Katie, who is 8. They were walking hand-in-hand, and he goes "Katie, you know I love you more than anything!" :-) Guess the rest of us know where we come in.

Vicki came down for supper (she and Steve both worked so they could have today off). We cooked out and ate til we couldn't eat anymore. We headed for Columbiana (10 miles away) for fireworks, and managed to meet up with my other brother-in-law, Steve, there. We got awesome seats - well, we actually took our seats :-) - but set up in a good place. The fireworks were terrific, and the grand finale was maybe the best I ever saw. Nathan didn't like them at all, so Paul had to cover his ears and hold him. Benjy also wasn't too crazy about them and told his mom "we shouldn't be here". :-)

Today has been a take-it-easy day, other than a trip into Salem. I stopped to visit the part of my life that is in storage - actually to make sure it is dry with all this rain. Don't think there is anything to worry about - the road up in is so steep, all rain has to come down it.

I have only applied one place so far, but plan to do more next week - figured I may as well enjoy having Pam and her gang here for the week, but to be honest, I am pretty depressed. I wonder if it is possible to find a job that I will like, and pay well enough, the Sunday work issue worries me, and I wonder if I can make it by myself. I will need to find a very reasonable place to live.

Paul and Pam have learned to play Rook, and have taken to it very well. We tried to teach Vicki, and either she really wasn't getting it, or wasn't interested enough. Kristin would worry if she played with them - they bid it up pretty high, and will jump from 80 to 120. :-) Playing with 3 isn't as fun as 4 or 5, but it is still fun.

Well, as I have been reading late, I may take a nap before supper, if I can with 2 little boys playing computer games close-by. Til next time!