Friday, September 17, 2021

An argument for rhythm

 I've been watching (and have been involved in) a couple of online discussions regarding the propriety of modern music in the church, and one thought that occurs to me is that, for all the talk about how many would claim that music with a beat (or even a back-beat) comes from pagan sources, in reality it has roots in creation.

Yes, creation, and specifically how we all have inhabited a little room called the "womb", where the soundtrack that was playing featured intestinal sounds, breathing, and a wonderful rhythm machine called the heart.  More than that, the atria contract, and then the ventricles contract--and as fans of Huey Lewis and the News would remind you, it's not just a beat, but it's a back-beat, the characteristic rhythm of rock & roll.

(side note; Lewis used to be a regular performer at wine tasting events....never could quite figure out why so many people who loved wine loved his music so much, but there you go)

This of course comes as no surprise to those who have cared for small children, who know from experience that when push comes to shove, you hold the child on your left side near your heart.  Kids love that back-beat.  We therefore ought to consider the possibility that one reason that we adults enjoy music with a back-beat has nothing to do with pagan music, but rather has everything to do with a built in memory of the rhythms we heard before we were born.  

Worth noting as well is that the use of these rhythms seems to have a good effect on our memorization of the lyrics as well.  So if we believe that a big part of music in the church ought to be to bring God's Word to our hearts and minds, we might infer that a certain portion of it ought to use these natural, God-given patterns.

I'm not sure where the intestinal sounds might come into play, though.  Maybe turning the reverb up on the bass?  Whatever our position on this, we might come together and sing 

I wanna praise the Lord all night, and worship every day

(yes, I'm sure Chaim Witz would be horrified to see his minimum nadir used for this purpose, which is of course part of the fun)

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Just like many have said before

 A man who said he was "transgender" to go into a spa in California turns out (surprise!) to be a sex offender with multiple convictions for indecent exposure.  As I've noted many times before, the risk of accomodating "transgenders" in bathrooms and locker rooms that do not correspond to their "factory equipment" probably doesn't have a whole lot to do with genuinely transgender people, but rather the risk that those who are, or should be, on Megan's List will use this as a way to get into facilities where they would otherwise have been told to leave.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021


 Back when I lived in Waseca, I went for a time to a small Baptist church that ultimately revealed itself to be a bit more of the KJVO/Trail of Blood/Jack Hyles orbit than I was comfortable with, and one of the things the "pastor" did there was to try to get a "Reformers Unanimous" group going.  For the uninitiated, "Reformers Unanimous" is more or less a fairly hard line fundamental alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous and other groups seeking to free men from addiction to alcohol, drugs, and sexual behaviors.  They"famous" for being the group which "assisted" Josh Duggar, now on trial for possession of child pornography, as he "dealt with" his history of molesting juveniles (including his own sisters), pornography, and adultery.  I think it's safe to say that the therapy was not entirely successful.

"Reformers Unanimous" is a "ministry" of North Love Baptist Church in Rockford, IL, and Julie Roys reports that close to two dozen people have reported being sexually assaulted by members, pastors, and missionaries of the church, at least one of whom has been convicted in a court of law, and another of whom features prominently in the GRACE Report of Bob Jones University.  The "pastor" there appears to have resigned over his failure to report these matters to police, but those remaining at the church apparently are still arguing that he didn't do anything that disqualifies him as a pastor.

My bet is that Mr. Kingsbury, the "pastor", is going to be back somewhere unless a large civil judgment is awarded against the church (and hopefully him as well).   Pray for justice in this case, and the data we have at this point suggests very strongly that there was wrongdoing by the church and Mr. Kingsbury.  

A COVID era funeral

 I attended, virtually, the funeral for Sam Perry this morning at Everton's St. George's Church, also nicknamed the "Iron Church" because it's an early example of churches built with iron framing instead of the previously common vaulted ceilings in churches.  It was a beautiful funeral for a man who, despite humble beginnings, managed a lot in his life, including a great career as a cutter for tailors' shops, as an instructor in the local vocational college, and among his friends and family.  Ian, Sam's son, gave a wonderful eulogy.  If you know a tradesman whose hands are capable of doing far more than just his trade, you have in a way met Sam.  He could cut and sew a suit, but also made beautiful things like doll houses and castles (a boy's doll house) from scrap lumber, played instruments, and a lot more.  

One thing I noticed for sure is that when the funeral is for a man who worked in tailors' shops, you're going to see a number of men whose suits fit far better than you'll see in most places in the U.S., even if you're in a law office.   Another thing to note is that when I think of churches from the last couple of centuries, architectural excellence is not usually what I think of.  However, the iron framing in St. George's is almost etherial in its beauty.  Here's a shot of the interior.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Paging Don Henley

 The Taliban have banned music in Afghanistan, and I'm sure that Vice President Harris has a really good plan to deal with their new rule that women need chaperones when out in public.  With this kind of work, and with the Taliban forcibly taking wives rape victims from the ranks of the single women (and young boys, too) of Afghanistan, I think the Democrats can be quiet about their support for womens' rights and #MeToo pretty much forever.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Now that was interesting

 As a guy who grew up 18 miles from Gary, rode the South Shore Railroad through Gary into Chicago (through some of the rougher projects around Chicago as well), took the "El" in and out of the city many times, and who spent a fair amount of time in Compton, I like to believe I've seen a little bit of the rougher part of the world.  Not that I'm terribly street smart, but I've learned a little.

Even I was surprised, however, when riding on the "blue line" from Fort Snelling to Target Field for a baseball game, mostly through neighborhoods that would be "on the right side of the tracks" if you put them in Gary or South Central, and my ticket was checked by a group of three transit police armed with taser and a pistol.  It was a far cry from the jovial old guys I'd meet on the South Shore who would put your ticket in a slot on the edge of your seat and make small talk while the Gary city hall and Genesis Center were in view.

I can't figure out for the life of me whether it's simply misplaced resources, or whether there really is a big reason that the conductors on our "death train" (it kills pedestrians regularly) need to be armed.  Either way, it's rather strange.

(side note; the Twins won with a beautiful line drive with the bases loaded against the Indians/Guardians/Kielbasi in the 10th)

Monday, August 16, 2021

Biden's Saigon moment

 Yes, the left is trying to soft-pedal the disaster in Afghanistan caused by Biden's premature withdrawal, but as the (democratically elected, ahem) government collapses, I'm reminded of something I saw at a former employer that spoke eloquently to how catastrophic the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam was for freedom-minded Vietnamese.  Specifically, I visited security for some reason, and I noticed that there were 24 binders of personnel security files there.  Two of them were filled solely with the surname "Nguyen."  They were great workers in clean rooms, but it speaks to the horrors of the Communist regime that saw 800,000 of their own people flee--and which saw millions killed in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

Pray for the Afghan people.  The Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians could flee over the border into Thailand, and hundreds of thousands did.  The Afghans are surrounded by China and several Islamist nations--Pakistan, Tajikstan, Iran, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.  It's not going to be easy for freedom minded Afghans to escape the Taliban tyranny, to put it mildly.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Sam Perry, RIP

 Today, my family learned that a friend we'd never met in person passed away--despite the same last name, we're not quite sure where our lineages meet, with the obvious exception of Noah.  Sam Perry was born around the beginning of the second World War in Everton, just "up the hill" from Liverpool.  If you're a real football fan, that explains the logo of the Toffees, Everton's football club.  (Nil Satis Nisi Optimum, by the way)

Sam grew up in workingman's housing of the type that is memorialized in the movie Hobson's Choice, a row house on the hill that is Everton, and remembered putting pennies (and slugs) in a meter in the home to get some gas for light, walking out to the outdoor loo, bomb shelters to protect people from the Blitz, and the fact that despite it being a humble dwelling, it was home.  In the 1960s, the row houses were demolished to make room for 12 story flats, and just as any former resident of Cabrini Green, Pruitt-Igoe, or the Robert Taylor Homes would tell you, it just never quite became home.  Those displaced from the old row houses call themselves "The Lost Tribe of Everton".  

As a young man after the war, he did not make the cut for college track high school, and by a stroke of luck wandered into a tailor's shop, where he was told that if he could read and cipher better than the proprietor, he had a job.  He thus became a master "cutter", the man who cuts the fabric for the tailor who sews it together, and even developed college/trade school level programs for teaching this now mostly lost art to young people.

Sam had children of his own--I believe at least two sons and a daughter--and married twice, both times ending in divorce.  As we got to know him, we learned about his love for the history of Everton, especially the old "Iron Church" of Everton.  Sam could be found at the Iron Church, historical society meetings, at the Salvation Army in Liverpool, and at the White Star pub in Liverpool.  He is survived by his children and grandchildren, by a good friend Pam in Wales, and by his adopted children and grandchildren in Minnesota.  Rest in peace, Sam, and thank you for all the fun and memories--and the beautiful vests you helped us make.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Competing with the IOC....

 ....for stupidest statement of the year is Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who has argued that the failure to remove Donald Trump from office cost 600,000 lives to COVID, claiming that not only would they be alive, but they would be walking the streets today.

Given that they don't give oak leaves to people with IQs of 60 (despite what sergeants might tell you), I think it's safe to say that Lt. Col. Vindman is indulging a vendetta against President Trump.  He certainly knows that a great portion of victims were aged and in nursing homes, and were in no condition to walk the streets even before the 'rona, and he certainly also knows that the worst states to be in for coronavirus were those run by Democrats.   He also certainly knows that if Mike Pence had had some great ideas to deal with the epidemic, he had the ear of Donald Trump.  In other words, he's almost certainly aware that his statements are a load of bull.

Really, the man is lucky (or clever) that he was walked out the door and is no longer subject to military justice, and that he wasn't making these inane statements under oath.  He knows better, but is still saying it because he knows that the media will repeat it and help him with his little hissy fit.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Pure genius from the IOC

 Apparently, people are all bent out of shape because the Tokyo Olympic organizers lied about the weather conditions prevalent in the city in July and August.  Because after all, it's not like people can look up average weather conditions in the city at that time of year and figure out that it's awfully hot, with a lot of humidity coming off Tokyo Bay, or anything like that.  Except that's been the case for something like, oh, the last century, with clear indications in Japanese literature of oppressive summer weather in Tokyo going back, oh, "just" a millenium or so.

Really, it's more like "The IOC doesn't care", because the Olympics in my life have been hosted in Atlanta, Los Angeles (heat plus smog!), Barcelona, Rio de Janiero, Athens, and Beijing (more smog!).  As long as there are big stadia and lots of fans and taxpayers willing to pay the cost, the IOC will send them an Olympics.

As Simone Biles will tell you, sports authorities don't give a (redacted) about athlete well being as long as the money is coming in.  Maybe it's time to change our attitudes towards "sportsball". 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Inspiring honesty from Dr. Fauci

 ...was shown in his recent exchange with Senator Rand Paul, in which Dr. Paul pointed to a paper by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, funded in part by the NIH, where "chimeric" coronavirii, modified by workers at WIV, were created.  In these "chimerae", it was found that transmissibility between animals and humans increased.

When Dr. Paul noted that this is gain of function, the response by Dr. Fauci was that the research funding had been vetted by experts (the appeal to authority fallacy), and that the particular virii would not end up as SARS-COV-2.

Well, yes, but Dr. Fauci certainly ought to know that both funding and research are fungible, money spent on capital for one type of gain of function research benefiting other research, and the lessons learned in gain of function research for this kind of virus would likely be applicable for others.

It's not total proof that WIV is responsible for leaking or creating COVID-19, but Dr. Fauci's obfuscation is a sign that we ought to look a little bit more with this.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

What could possibly go wrong?

 Apparently there are 101 murder suspects out on bail on electronic monitoring in Chicago now.  I am so old, I remember the days when people thought that there was a risk to having likely murderers out on the streets.  Times change, I guess.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Confirming what we all knew

 The Inspector General's office has concluded that the FBI mishandled the investigation of Dr. Larry Nassar.  Well, actually, it's far worse.  Failures by the FBI include lying, failing to document what little investigation they did, failure to realize that the accused was crossing state and national lines and was extremely likely to have violated federal law, and a lot more.  The only thing they did right was to forward hard drives containing Nassar's stache of child porn to a federal prosecutor, really--and you don't get a whole lot of credit for sending that obvious of an open and shut case to the prosecutor.

Needless to say, Rachael Denhollander has some very pointed thoughts about this that are worth reading.  The rather bitter joke among rape survivors is if you want to smuggle something past the police, just put it in a rape kit box, because you know the police won't look at that.  Sad to say, the FBI has given survivors a lot more reason to make that joke.

It's sadly one of a long list of strange decisions by federal investigators that brings to mind a question; are people at the FBI for sale, or are there political motivations at play in what they investigate?  Nassar didn't merit a grand jury or a subpoena, as far as I can tell.  Martha Stewart was investigated for years after Jim Comey determined her stock sale was not criminal--destroying thousands of times more investor equity than was gained or retained in her stock sale.  The same Jim Comey didn't convene a grand jury or issue a single subpoena in the Hilliary Clinton case that appeared to be open and shut.  Patrick Fitzgerald chased after Scooter Libby for process crimes for years after he knew that there was no crime committed by unmasking Valerie Plame's status, and the same guy mysteriously "leaked" the Rod Blagojevich investigation right when the list of names would have been really interesting--and potentially devastating to the Democratic Party in Illinois.

The same Patrick Fitzgerald "exonerated" MSU in the Nassar case without as much as a report.  Half a billion dollars in lawsuits later, and I think we know what quality of investigation he did there, and yes, it does suggest the man is for sale.

It reminds me of something I pointed out when a former coworker exulted in the return of Elian Gonzalez to Cuba because my coworker didn't like Cuban exiles; "If the law doesn't work for people you hate, it won't work for you, either."  It's time for a serious house-cleaning in federal law enforcement.

Monday, July 12, 2021

As the proud owner of a flip phone...

 ....I'm quite frankly used to my teen children making fun of it, and it was even tolerable when fellow engineers and technical people started to do the same.  I may have to upgrade, however, as I've just learned that there is a federal program to buy smartphones for the homeless.

Alternatively, when panhandlers come to call, maybe I should just say "if your phone is nicer than mine, I'm not giving..."  

Asking for your help

The "Washington Football Team", formerly called the "Redskins", is asking for the nation's help in selecting a new name.       Apparently the "Warriors" is too close to the Native American stereotypes they're trying to avoid, so this site figured we might do something to help them.

The goal, of course, is to inspire fear in opponents and fanatical loyalty in fans in a way that's appropriate to the city.  So here are my suggestions:

IRS Agents

Corrupt bureaucrats

Swamp lizards


Whatever they choose, I'll be happy to cheer against them whenever I get the inclination to watch overpaid rent-seeking thugs beat the snot out of each other.