May 25, 2015
"Honor sacrifice by tending to the tree of liberty"
photo by Frank Glick at Ft Snelling National Cemetery
"The blood of our warriors — spilled for liberty — has granted us a nation greater than we deserve."
David French on Memorial Day "Be thankful for the world we have — and remember those who helped us create and defend it."
It’s one thing to read in the history books of barely trained militia staring down British regulars from the top of Breed’s Hill, or of the horrible slaughter on Burnside’s Bridge at Antietam, or to watch movie depictions of Omaha Beach or even combat footage from Fallujah. It’s another thing entirely to stand in silent attention as a friend — a brother you’d just talked to hours before — is loaded onto a Blackhawk helicopter to begin his “hero flight” home.
To say that we can’t repay our debt to these warriors is not to say that we shouldn’t be good stewards of the fruits of their sacrifice. Indeed, the knowledge that all of our lives and opportunities are to some degree blood-bought should sanctify them for even our most secular citizens. Honor sacrifice by tending to the tree of liberty, by building something in your own turn that is worth defending.
Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/418789/nation-greater-we-deserve-david-french
May 20, 2015
The 0.3% Consensus
Cancer charity fraud
In a rare joint action with attorneys general for each of the 50 states, the Federal Trade Commission says four cancer charities run by extended members of the same family conned donors out of $187 million from 2008 through 2012 and spent almost nothing to help actual cancer patients….
the charities spent about 97% of donations they received either on private fundraisers or on themselves. Only 3%, she says, went to help actual cancer patients…..
[D]onated funds were used to pay for vehicles, personal consumer goods, college tuition, gym memberships, Jet Ski outings, dating website subscriptions, luxury cruises, and tickets to concerts and professional sporting events," the complaint says….
The Cancer Fund of America
The Breast Cancer Society
The Children's Cancer Fund of America
Cancer Support Services.
Shame on them all. Don't give money unless you check first with Charity Navigator
May 19, 2015
Marija Tiurina, a London-based artist, has collected, explained, and illustrated 14 non-English words we could certainly use.
Cafuné – the act of tenderly running fingers through someone’s hair (Brazilian, Portuguese)
Palegg – anything and everything that you can put on a slice of bread (Norwegian)
Gufra – the amount of water that can be held in a hand (Arabic)
Baku-Shan – a beautiful girl – as long as she is being viewed from behind (Japanese)
Schlimazl – a chronically unlucky person (Yiddish)
Duende – the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person (Spanish)
Age-Otori – to look worse after a haircut (Japanese)
Kyoikumama – a mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement (Japanese)
L’appel Duvide – instinctive urge to jump from high places (French)
Luftmensch – refers to someone who is a bit of a dreamer, and literally means “air person” (German)
Tretar – is a second refill, or “threefill” (Swedish)
Torchlusspanik – the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages (German)
Schadenfreude – feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune (German)
Tingo - the act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them (Pascuense)
You'll will want to see them all.
Two women, both adopted, both dropped out of high school, one from New Jersey, one from Florida and Iowa, both move to NYC and both decide in their thirties to go back to college to study writing find out on the first day of class that they were sisters.
Katy Olson, left, and Lizzie Valverde, who were adopted by different families more than 30 years ago,
in the Columbia classroom where they met.
Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times
May 15, 2015
"Health, safety and security…have replaced faith, hope and charity as virtues"
Theodore Dalrymple on The Cure for Hypochondria
There is no doubt that hypochondriacs are boring; you fear to ask them how they are in case they should tell you. But one cannot help but suspect that their excessive concern with the state of their health is a defense against something worse, an existential fear that life has no meaning beyond itself, and that therefore the achievement of health, the avoidance of illness, is the highest goal possible.
Certainly, our obsession with health, safety and security (which have replaced faith, hope and charity as virtues) is not proportional, except possibly inversely, to risk or threat. The hypochondriac is not assuaged by statistics that show that his generation is the healthiest that has ever lived, or that death does not lurk in every food and every product and every situation. In the absence of a transcendent purpose in life, staving off death becomes all-important. Hypochondriasis, then, is in part a religious or philosophical problem.
….it is far more important for people to be able to lose themselves that to find themselves. The ability to distance themselves from their own twinges and morbid thoughts is precisely what hypochondriacs lack.
To observe, but also to observe yourself observing: that is the trick. Once, when being mildly beaten by a Balkan policeman with a truncheon, I managed to think about how I was going to describe it, and I found thinking about it a considerable relief. There comes a point, of course, when such detachment is impossible: but by definition, almost, hypochondriacs have not yet reached that point.
The Uyuni Salt Flats: Where Land is Indistinguishable from Sky. Video at the link
It's Just Like Hogwarts! What makes Gothic architecture so magical?
Christ Church Hall at Oxford
The Spy Among Us A transcript of Steve Kroft's piece on 60 Minutes. Jack Barsky held a job at some of the top corporations in the U.S. and lived a seemingly normal life -- all while spying for the Soviet Union. So how did he quit the KGB without getting killed?
Barsky said: "There's three things I tell people that the Russians were afraid of. AIDS, Jewish people and Ronald Reagan."
He wrote them a letter saying he had AIDS and the only place he could get treatment was in the U.S. And then the FBI moved next door.
They are in such demand that there is a black market where you can buy and sell them for double or triple their face value depending on the bill’s condition. Everyone wants them. Some stores have them on display underneath glass and discretely operate exchanges.
“They bring us good luck. If you keep a $2 bill with you it will bring more money,”
How to Drink Like a Saint With moderation, gratitude, memory, merriment and ritual.
“What happens is that during a particular time of the year, particularly in May and August, young spiders in the Outback somewhere throw these threads of spiderwebs up in the air and use them as a parachute to detach themselves from the ground and move in large colonies through the sky,” Mr Basterfield explained.
“They fly through the sky and then we see these falls of spider webs that look almost as if it’s snowing.
In the Atlantic. The Wedding Sting When a police department lured all the drug dealers to one big party.
By 9:00 p.m. the party was in full swing, but behind the scenes was pure tension: Sweaty hands gripped weapons. Synchronized watches were checked. The band knew it was time to give the signal and began to play the song: “I Fought The Law (and the Law Won).”
Williams reached into her garter and felt for her revolver. Shooter jumped onto the stage, and grabbed the mic.
“Let’s have some fun,” he shouted. “Everybody here that’s a cop, stand up!”
A dozen undercover officers rose to their feet as uniformed detectives burst through the door.
“Okay!” Shooter yelled. “All the rest of you motherf***** put your hands on the table, because you’re under arrest! This is a bust!”
How to Build a Human
it was a real revelation to come across this amazing, animated infographic from designer and science-person Eleanor Lutz, who lays out the minute steps of human embryo and fetus development in a single, spiral-shaped GIF. Lutz, who works in design, but studied molecular biology, incorporated an impressive 396 sketches into the piece.
I don't have enough room to do justice to the amazing infographic, so go to the link.
This is the first time I heard this story. Kidnapper releases 10-year-old who wouldn't stop singing a gospel song
A gospel song saved a 10-year-old Atlanta boy from his kidnapper. Willie Myrick said he was in his front yard and bent down to pick up money when somebody grabbed him and threw him in a car.
“He told me he didn’t want to hear a word from me,” Myrick said. That’s when Myrick began to sing a gospel song called “Every Praise is to Our God.” The kidnapper started cursing and repeatedly told Myrick to shut up, but he wouldn’t. He sang the song for about three hours until the kidnapper let him out of the car.
The little boy ran to a nearby home and asked the resident to call his guardian. Myrick, who was reportedly born to atheist parents, was raised by his godmother Codetta Bateman. She often took him to church where he learned about God and developed a passion for the Bible.
When asked who his best-friend is, he said, "I always think that God is with me everywhere I go."
Willie's story has since made headlines around the world and has led to an appearance on Arsenio Hall and radio interviews across the country. He even had the chance to perform "Every Praise" with Grammy award-winning artist Hezekiah Walker, who wrote the song.
Here they both are - Hezekiah Walker and Willie Myrick starting at 3:40 at the video link
May 14, 2015
"First, there is indifference. Second, there is emotional anger. Third, there is force".
When Relativism Goes Mainstream This non-philosophy is now the mainstream, default setting in our society. ...
There is no such thing as rational debate. In the absence of objective truth, there can be no debate, for a debate is dependent on the assumption that there is something to debate. A debate can only take place if there is such a thing as truth to be debated, and without that basic assumption, one person’s opinion on a matter must be as valid as the next person’s
I posed a question to three of the students: “Jane, if you have an opinion, and Jerry, you have an opinion, and Jade, you have an opinion, and your opinions differ, and the only thing you agree on is that there is no such thing as truth, and the three of you completely disagree… who will prevail?”
Jane shrugged. Jade said, “Whoever is the loudest.” Jerry said, “Whoever is the strongest.” All three correctly assessed the situation. In the face of relativism the response of the society in general reflects the three answers. First, there is indifference. Second, there is emotional anger. Third, there is force. Co-incidentally, the conversation took place the same evening that the city of Baltimore was erupting into absurd and horrifying violence, and that urban violence is a reflection of the inner state of mind and heart of a society without objective truth. In Baltimore that evening those who were indifferent stood by in horror as the loudest prevailed, soon to be outgunned by those who were strongest…..
….By “objective truth” we mean a cohesive and integrated system of thought which makes sense of every aspect of reality. This cohesive system of thought even makes room for that which is unpredictable and inexplicable by allowing for certain uncertainties. Finally, this “objective truth” is not only a statement of truth propositions and a cohesive system of analysis and integration, but it is also a model for life, a code of behavior, a chart for relationships, and a blueprint for community co-existence. In other words, for this truth to be true it must wear working clothes. It does so not only to prove its practicality, but also to prove its durability. The truth must work and keep working. It must be alive and active and real….
The most terrifying aspect to this truth is that the indifferent will cry out for the domination of the superman. Most dictatorships are welcomed for what they offer. In the lack of objective truth and objective morality what the strongman says is true and what the strongman does is good. Suddenly out of the quicksand of relativism salvation comes. A light shines in the darkness. If the dictator cannot bring meaning out of the mindlessness, at least he can bring order out of the chaos. If he cannot bring beauty out of the beastliness, at least he can promise security in the midst of terror. If he cannot bring morality out of the morass at least he can impose law on the lawless.