January 22, 2021

Saturday Ramblings: September 12, 2015

1965 Rambler Classic 660 Station Wagon. Like your Chaplain, it's seen better days.

1965 Rambler Classic 660 Station Wagon. Like your Chaplain, it has seen better days.

If we can get this old Rambler jump-started, we’ll be off and running in this late summer edition. There, I think we got it. Ready to ramble?

• • •

Here are a couple of family pictures from our Labor Day weekend gathering at Cumberland Falls, Kentucky to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. No, they really are family pictures. You see, my great, great, great uncle by marriage, H.C. Brunson, ran the inn at Cumberland Falls for 30 years in the early 1900’s, before the falls were saved from the power company and turned into a state park. So, fittingly, we had our family gathering at an old family spot. Click on each image to see it full size, and learn what leisure used to look like.

• • •

The 2015-16 NFL season kicked off Thursday, and we loyal U.S. sports fans will now pay absolutely no attention to presidential politics, unless, like Donald Trump here, the politicians set forth their positions and policies regarding how they will make sports even better.

I’ve been enjoying the tweets of one of the newer members of our Links list: The Church Curmudgeon. Here are a few recent favorites:

• • •

OathkeepersOath Keepers offered to provide security for Kim Davis . . . The “Patriot” group Oath Keepers, founded by Stewart Rhodes, has been in the news more and more this summer. First, they showed up in Ferguson, Missouri carrying assault weapons in the midst of the racial unrest there. Then, they stationed themselves as armed guards outside military recruitment centers after the shootings in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Now, they’ve offered to go to Kentucky, to provide Kentucky clerk Kim Davis a “security detail” to protect her from further arrest if she continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of court orders. The group’s focus is not on the gay marriage issue, per se, but on what they consider Davis’s illegal detainment by a federal judge. Right Wing Watch reported:

Rhodes said that the Rowan County sheriff should have blocked U.S. Marshals from detaining Davis, but since neither the sheriff nor the state’s governor will do their “job” and “intercede” on behalf of Davis, the Oath Keepers will have to do it instead. “As far as we’re concerned, this is not over,” he said, “and this judge needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to. If the sheriff, who should be interceding, is not going to do his job and the governor is not going to do the governor’s job of interceding, then we’ll do it.” Rhodes went on to say that “our guys are already there and more coming” and they are ready to “lead by example” by preventing Davis from being arrested again.

But she said no . . . The next day, news came that Davis had declined their offer, and RWW issued the following update:

Now, almost as soon as they arrived, the Oath Keepers are packing up and going home. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes writes in an email to members today that Davis, through her attorneys at the Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel, has (probably wisely) declined their offer of assistance. He encourages members to save their gas money for another mission, such as “our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion.”

• • •


Religious New Service reports that when the U.S. media call the papal plane “Shepherd One,” it really fries veteran Vatican-watcher John Allen. Allen, who is covering the papal trip for Crux, the Boston Globe’s Catholic site, says that though Americans are proud of the power and shimmer of glamour of the U.S. President’s ride — Air Force One — the airline that brings Pope Francis to America next week will be an ordinary Alitalia jet pulled out of routine service for a day. It will have no fancy desks or electronics or meeting suites —  just a VIP (as in Very Important Pontiff) in the front row of business class.

• • •

Here are some Happy Birthday wishes for this week:

  • Super Mario turns 30 years old tomorrow, Sept. 13, marking three decades of wasted time.
  • Singer/bassist Roger Waters of Pink Floyd turned 72 on Sept. 6. Rumor has it he’s hit the wall.
  • Jeff Foxworthy turned 57 this week and reportedly celebrated like, well you know, a redneck.
  • Actor Topol celebrated 80 a few days ago while fiddler played “Happy Birthday” overhead.
  • And Bretagne, the last living Ground Zero rescue dog was honored in New York City for her 16th birthday.


• • •
It’s September, and look who has the fourth best record in baseball. Cubs came within an inning of sweeping the Cardinals this week, and they’re creeping up on the Pirates, trying to grab the first wild-card position.

Hope usually dies in April, but it’s still alive in September, 2015!


Central W L PCT GB
St. Louis   88   52   .629   –
Pittsburgh   84   56   .600   4.0
Chi Cubs   82   58   .586   6.0
Milwaukee   62   79   .440   26.5
Cincinnati   58   81   .417   29.5


• • •

Finally, Stephen Colbert opened his run as host of “The Late Show” in classic form, with an assist from a special home plate ump:


  1. Dan form Georgia says


    And loved the tweets.

  2. WenatcheeTheHatchet says

    let’s not forget Estonian composer Arvo Part, who just turned 80 this week.

    • That’s 843 minimalist years, by the way.

      I’m glad he’s still with us.

      And I still miss Tavener.

      Here’s Part’s T Deum, performed in Tallinn. (You can climb the 250 steps up to the church’s steeple if you’re ever in town for a great view of the city.)


      • ROFL that minimalist joke. IMMD. 😀

        • Miguel,

          I maxed out on minimalism in the 90s, though I still listen to a lot of Part and Tavener on a semi-regular basis.

          Now that he’s 80, I wonder if Part has any new insights into “Sarah Was Ninety Years Old.”

          Also, I’m warming up to my misspelled “T Deum,” which I can only imagine as a hip-hop take of the sacred text. You’ll have to tell me whether it should be West or East Coast. Seems like you’d know.

      • Trevis, thanks for sharing that link. Magnificent music!

  3. Well, at least the up-and-coming sport of soccer will be spared the Donald’s fix-it plans…

  4. I came late to Twitter party (Feb. 2014) but have been following Church Curmudgeon most of that time. You may also like Pulpit Parody (@pulpitparody) but he is moving and has dropped some of the character lately for IRL stuff – which isn’t very funny.

  5. On Oath Keepers… anarchy is knocking at the door. Personally, I’ll take some bad laws, even some “persecution” over that. Interesting how many american christians have a conscience when it comes to sexual prohibition…but have none when it comes to the Biblical teachings on honoring and obeying the gov authorities over them.

    • Honestly, I don’t think this has anything to do with sexual prohibition. I think this has to do with a confluence of atomistic determinism combined with people who have it relatively easy and have been told for years that “big government” is the problem.

      • a confluence of atomistic determinism combined with people who have it relatively easy

        Ah yep. I would love to dump one of these “self-sufficient don’t-need-no-stinking-gubmint” types on a real working 19th century farm (if you really want to be “independent”…) and see how long they last. $50 says less than a week.

        • They would merely be ridiculous, if they didn’t have weapons.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Really?!?! A week! No way. Most o these guys are out-of-shape middle-aged white dudes.

          When I was much younger and needed a bit of free cash I walked up to an asparagus farm and got on a shift. On my hands and knees in the sun, which a pair of scissors, filling buckets with asparagus. OMG! That is brutal work, and this white boy burned to something resembling a rotten tomato. I’ve had hard jobs … but that was soul breaking.

          • On Labor Day, which was instituted to honor the existence and influence of the American labor movement, I bet few shoppers picking up tomatoes at the last minute for the burgers they barbecued later in the day gave a single thought to the people who do this “soul breaking” work, people that the successes of the American labor movement left behind.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            >I bet few shoppers picking up tomatoes … the successes of the American labor movement left behind.


            And those successes are rapidly receding into history. Corporations are once again effectively using the power of government to oppress workers.

          • Yes, they are receding. And every day I feel that power oppressing me in my blue collar work, as my company demands more and more productivity for the same remuneration. “Union” is a word nobody even thinks of, much less utters.

        • “I would love to dump one of these ‘self-sufficient don’t-need-no-stinking-gubmint’ types on a real working 19th century farm (if you really want to be ‘independent’…) and see how long they last. $50 says less than a week.”

          You have no idea what you’re talking about. I know who some of these people are. Many are men who served their country on the front lines, and many currently run their own private farms. Permaculture and home farming are very big in that community.

      • And far to many of the Oath Keeper type too ignorant to realize that they are being played by people seeking more power & that they will be tossed aside in a heartbeat when they no longer serve a purpose.

        • Who’s playing them? Are you saying there’s some kind of “vast right wing conspiracy” behind this group, and others akin to it?

          I loath this group, and its ilk, but I think they are “being played” mostly by themselves. There may be figures of political and social prominence from whom they draw inspiration, but those figures have no real control over these groups. In fact, the more radically conservative political and social figures from whom these groups draw inspiration owe their notoriety to the fact that there is, and always has been, a jingoistic, nativist strain in American social and public life at “street level”. The public figures feed off of this, but they didn’t create it, nor can they snuff it out. Among people who buy into this mentality, “God, Family and Country” is equivalent to “Blood and Soil”.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            > I loath this group, and its ilk,


            > but I think they are “being played” mostly by themselves

            The playing is a harmony, feedback loop. Each indulging the other, to their own benefit an peril.

          • Yes, that is true. There are exploiters who can make the situation worse, obviously. But the tendency continues to exist, and not just in the US; we have only to look to the reactions of many Europeans to the immigrant crisis to see that.

          • No, I don’t think there is a vast conspiracy. I just know human nature. Those with a little power stir up those who don’t and use them to achieve their ends, and then toss them aside.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            …more radically conservative political and social figures from whom these groups draw inspiration owe their notoriety to the fact that there is, and always has been, a jingoistic, nativist strain in American social and public life at “street level”. The public figures feed off of this, but they didn’t create it, nor can they snuff it out. Among people who buy into this mentality, “God, Family and Country” is equivalent to “Blood and Soil”.

            “HE’S TRUUMP! TRUUUMP!
            TRUUMP! TRUUUMP!
            TRUUMP! TRUUUMP! …”
            — Song used as intro bumper on morning drive-time news articles about The Donald; I think it’s snarking at him

            And I remember my stepmother saying exactly the same about Ross Perot in 1992, for serious — “America for REAL Americans!”

            And the real kicker is that Trump (he who out-Becks Glenn Beck) has some of his most fanatical support among the Christianese Bible Belt.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Is it just me, or are some of the Trump Fanboys getting scary?

            I know from experience in several fandoms that Fanboys have this way of taking their obsession way beyond what its original source could even dream of — More Marxist than Marx, More Darwinist than Darwin, More Calvinst than Calvin, More Islamic than Mohammed.

            Like Ross Perot fanboys in 1992, with Ross Perot (another billionaire trying for the White House) as their de facto Personal LORD and Savior, speaking of him like a preacher.

            I remember Obama Fanboys back in 2008; they got pretty scary — “Obama is My Personal Savior!”; “The Obama Youth — He Is Alpha! He Is Omega! Obama! Obama! Obama!”; the Obama Children’s Choir and their “Hymn to The One”. All Fanboy Productions, with the actual campaign staff facepalming and trying to get them shut down before they could wreck the official campaign narrative. (Compounded by the fact that Obama was very tightly campaign handled, to avoid a train wreck like Perot; Messiah Politics can flip one-eighty very fast and very easily, once the followers realize their Messiah Figure candidate is only human beneath the managed Public Image.)

            And now you have Trump Fanboys getting as or more scary. TIME magazine editorial mentions some Trump Fanboy at a rally in Alabama saying “He ought to make the border a vacation preserve — $25 for a permit and paying $50 bounty for each confirmed kill.”

    • Does Oath Keepers claim to be a Christian organization?

      • No. membership consists of “currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, police, fire-fighters, other first responders (i.e. State Guard, Sheriff Posse/Auxiliary, Search & Rescue, EMT, other medical 1st responders, etc.) AND veterans/former members of those services,”

        Basically, anyone who has taken an oath to uphold the constitution to enemies foreign and domestic. Hence, “Oath Keepers.”

        • “to” should be “against”

        • wondering if ‘Oath Keepers’ ever had a member named Timothy McVeigh ? I look at the profile of that group and I think of him.

          They are heavily armed. And willing, evidently in the case of Kim Davis, to stand up to federal law enforcement to prevent her from being taken back into custody. What a mess. So glad she was advised against allowing them to ‘support’ her in that way. With a group like that, someday there will be blood. They are looking for a fight.

          • “They” are self-serving a-dubbs who believe their own interpretation of the Constitution is superior to the balance of powers outlined in that very constitution, including the judicial branch. Vaguely pathetic, in my book, and definitely dangerous.

  6. Not to be outdone, I follow God on Twitter. Who knew he had such a wicked sense of humor?

  7. I would have expected Jeff Foxworthy to celebrate like a fifth grader.

  8. I, who am a protestant, recall having Papal envy back in the days of now Saint John Paul II; I feel much the same for Pope Francis.

  9. Who is the “special” umpire? (I’m not sports saavy.)

  10. That Oath Keepers logo looks like a beer bottle label.

  11. I don’t exactly have pope envy, I just think Pope Francis makes us all look good, Catholic and Protestant alike.

    Also, happy birthday Mario! I don’t do much gaming anymore, but Nintendo was a cherished part of my childhood. I’d even go as to say that Mario Kart changed my life. It got me into video games, which in turn got me interested in computers, which eventually led to my current career as a programmer.

    • I like how he honors the disabled, the disfigured, the dignity of the human person even when she is Islamic and in a prison, the poor, the homeless, those who have no voice . . . they now have him. I like how he turns our attention to those who really need it. If Francis is ‘the pope’, he got through a ‘process’ whereby the cardinals prayed for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to affect their choice . . . in Francis’ case, I think the Holy Spirit may have got through to the cardinals. And I imagine there are protestants out there who think the same thing.

      ‘let the fire of the Holy Spirit descend’ that the face of the Earth be renewed

  12. Our State Assembly has passed an assisted-suicide law, in special session, hidden inside another bill, pushed through on a Friday afternoon. It is not known if the Governor will sign it.


    I am beside myself – can’t form a coherent thought to write more.


    • Whatever one thinks of assisted-suicide, this kind legislation, which institutes a sea-change in social life, should not be smuggled into law by being hidden in another bill. That’s shameful.

      I understand your distress.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        But how else can you get A Mandatory Law For The Greater Collective Good past those Lumpenproletariat of such Inferior Intellect?

  13. Happy Birthday hero pup Bretagne! Dogs rule! woof!

  14. I never thought I would see the day when labor unions were no longer a respected part of our American society. If there are safer work places, better working conditions, and better pay and benefits today, we owe it to our workers who banded together and stood up for what was right.

    Tired of the abuses of greed and ‘supply-side economics’ . . . sometimes people need to stand up against the powers that be, and not be beaten down. ‘Right to work’ is a gift to the greedy. It has nothing in it for workers, nothing.

    Ah, I feel better. A good rant is therapeutic. 🙂

    • Adam Tauno Williams says


    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      But people in debt up to their eyeballs, who will lose their homes if they miss a payment, have much less actual power+freedom to stand-up for themselves.

      • and yet in droves many of these people vote against their own interests in support of the top 3 % who have been given the power to call the shots . . . oh, sometimes I listen to Bernie Sanders and I still feel there is hope, but what can be done when the very people in need throw away their votes ??? (sigh) BTW, I’m still supporting Hillary and it’s all about ‘experience’.
        Or maybe Biden, if he joins the race.
        There is something very decent about Biden. How can a man have had a son like Beau Biden and not be on the side of the angels?

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Well, big Biden fan here so…. he could never be elected president. Far too much of a technocrat and policy wonk [both terms I use as *compliments*]. I have no doubt he could talk any of the other candidates from either party under the table concerning data, analysis, and research. But the American people who found Gore too boring and ‘wooden’ [aka nuanced and well-informed] would booo Biden right off the stage.

          I hope he doesn’t run. It would pointlessly sacrifice his dignity and be an ignoble end to a laudable career.

          • oh yes, Biden is Irish and could talk the hind leg off of a donkey . . . if you get a chance, check out his most recent interview with Colbert . . . it’s very moving.

    • Without unions and collective bargaining, workers have little to no power to hold in balance against the power and influence of the corporations for which they labor. Oh, there are lawsuits brought by employees against their employers that sometimes result in laws to protect laborers; but often they are settled out of court, because the corporations can afford to hang in for the long haul, and to pay for silence, while their plaintiffs have all they can do to survive financially. Suing a large corporation often requires a nearly heroic degree of courage on the part of individuals, and that shouldn’t be necessary in the effort to procure decent treatment, working conditions and wages. But in the absence of unions, that’s all there is.

      • As is made painfully obvious by multi-billion dollar multi-nationals who pay their full time employees so little that they must rely on public welfare programs to stay afloat. Meanwhile, the shareholders and top brass rake in the cash. It is not only unjust, it is unsustainable. If we don’t wake up soon, the entire party will crash to halt in the blood of revolution, tyranny, or anarchy.

  15. The end of summer always reminds me of this song:


    …and the beginning of fall always reminds me of this one:


  16. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Our local drive-time talk radio has a tradition of prefacing news items & commentaries with snarky “bumper music” or background music. Currently their coverage of Trump has one called “He’s TRUMP! TRUUUUUMP!” which carries on the tradition. The one time I heard it there was a lot of background noise so I couldn’t make out the words except for two fragments:

    He filed for bankruptcy FOUR TIMES!”
    He’ll get rid of all those Mexicans!”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Got another listen to it recently. First verse goes:
      “He’s TRUUMP! TRUUMP!
      He thinks he’s running for President!”

  17. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Regarding Kim Davis in general:

    I remember near the start of this mess she said her stand is a “Heaven or Hell Issue”.

    I think she’s suffering from a form of Wretched Urgency, Ezekiel 33 sub-type. Where if she doesn’t Take The Stand against (that bogeyman of Christianse Culture War) Teh Fags, God WILL Punish Her for it. She’s got God’s Hell Gun pressed against the back of her head with one up the spout and the safety off, just waiting for her to falter in any way. She’s driven by Fear of Hell, of God Punishing Her. Culture War Without End, Amen.

    Ezekiel 33 speaks of Watchmen. As Watchmen go, she’s starting to edge into Rorshcach territory, and the Oathkeepers are already halfway there.

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