November 26, 2020

Saturday Ramblings: January 30, 2016 – Hawkeye Edition

Winter Rambler

It’s the final weekend in January 2016 already!

Here in central Indiana, it looks nothing like our Rambler portrait today. Most are cheering that the weather will be in the 50’s this weekend. I can finally go outside and take my hoses off the spigots and see how much damage the occasional sub-freezing temps have done to them.

Then the Missus and I might just hop in the car and go for a ramble. Care to join us? Let’s go!


23_snow_blizzard-512It’s that time again — ???? time to give Iowa a try! ????

The Iowa Caucuses will be held on Monday, finally kicking off the never-ending presidential election year after a never-ending pre-campaign season.

Folks will gather all across the state in homes, churches, school gymnasiums and other meeting rooms and make their picks. The Republican caucuses are kind of boring, but those Democrats really know how to do it with drama. If you need a primer on how the caucuses work, here’s one, and here’s some historical background.

Or, you can read this summary from Funny or Die.

And here’s a little taste of what the candidates have been finding out about Iowans as they’ve traversed the state. Tough crowd.

23_snow_blizzard-512Perhaps you’ve never been to Iowa.

Well then, let us introduce you to this wonderful state by means of a tribute song by Heywood Banks:

23_snow_blizzard-512We’re told that wintry weather may play a part in the turnout.

A winter storm has been forecasted to arrive in the state on Monday evening, while the caucuses are gathering. But its residents, hardy Midwesterners, won’t likely be swayed from doing their civic duty. Tough people, those Hawkeyes.


23_snow_blizzard-512With all this important information now at your disposal, it’s time for (drumroll…)


Who will win the Republican caucuses?

Who will be the big losers?

And who will win on the Democratic side?

You might want to read this article at Bloomberg, offering nine credible predictions, before you make your final choice.


23_snow_blizzard-512Enough already. Let’s go to where politics are really crazy — covering nude statues crazy.


Boxes covered nude statues in the Capitoline Museum in Rome during the visit by Rouhani. Credit Giuseppe Lami/ANSA, via AP

Rome’s Capitoline Museums made a decision to cover their nude statues last week in a bid to avoid offending the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, who was visiting the city. Wine was also banned from official receptions. The New York Times reports:

Some media reports suggested the Iranian delegation had asked Italian officials to hide the statues to avoid Mr. Rouhani any potential embarrassment. Other reports fingered nervous (and perhaps overzealous) Italian bureaucrats. One newspaper even reported that in the grand hall at the Capitoline where the two leaders spoke, the lectern was placed to the side — not the front — of an equestrian statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, apparently to avoid having images of the horse’s genitals appear in news photographs.

The Italian government evidently did not anticipate the uproar and mocking that ensued. One cartoon making the rounds showed a bewildered Mr. Rouhani, with the boxes in the background, asking Mr. Renzi: “Where did you bring me? Ikea?”

The decision has raised an uproar in Italy. Here’s how one critic put it:

“The problem is that those statues — yes, those icons of classicism and models of humanism — are the foundation of European and Mediterranean culture and civilization,” the columnist Michele Serra wrote in La Repubblica. To conceal them, he wrote, “is to conceal ourselves.” To not offend the Iranian president, he wrote, “we offended ourselves.”

Haaretz, the Israeli paper, noted that that last time Rome covered its monuments, it was in deference to another international visitor: Adolf Hitler.

Patriarch Youssef III Younan , the head of the Syriac Catholic Church, criticized the move as insensitive to Syrian Catholic Christians, who are being persecuted for their faith in the Middle East. Younan said it pained them that those in Rome were forgetting their brothers and sisters for opportunistic reasons.

I90D3I54R92zeEJzsCWA_Bill Clinton First Lady

23_snow_blizzard-512Meanwhile, the Ohio House of Representatives apparently didn’t know what they were getting when they asked a fundamentalist Baptist pastor to open last Tuesday’s session with prayer.

prayerNormally, those who offer such invocations take about a minute. Well, Pastor B.J. VanAman had other plans. A minute passed. Then two. Three. Four. And after five minutes, during a pause in the sermon — er, prayer — House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger took advantage of the break, said “amen” and ended the prayer before it was over.

“I didn’t mean to be rude and I feel terrible.” Rosenberger said in an interview with The Columbus Dispatch. “When I thought it was enough I didn’t know really how best to do it, so I just said ‘amen’ and away we go.”

Pastor VanAman, I have a book recommendation for you.

We reviewed it Thursday on Internet Monk.

23_snow_blizzard-512And then there’s this.

AZCentral reports:

KNXV City of Phoenix City Hall_1398474116600_4209240_ver1.0_640_480Members of a satanic group are set to give the prayer at an upcoming meeting of the Phoenix City Council, triggering a debate about religious freedom and whether such a display is appropriate for the venue.

Satanic Temple members Michelle Shortt and Stu de Haan are expected to give the invocation at the council’s Feb. 17 meeting after the group submitted a request in December. Despite the objections of some council members, the city has decided to let the satanists speak as scheduled.

Phoenix City Attorney Brad Holm released a statement Thursday evening, defending the city’s position. The city typically holds a short invocation at the start of formal council meetings and has included members from a variety of faiths, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism.

“Consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s direction, the city cannot dictate religious viewpoints or the content of a prayer,” Holm wrote. “In addition, government may not exclude a denomination or a religion from praying under these circumstances.”

Councilman Jim Waring said he thinks the city should have told the Satanic Temple members “no,” and let them fight the issue in court. He said he thinks the action is intended to be offensive to residents and questioned whether it’s a gimmick to get the city to stop doing a prayer at council meetings altogether.


23_snow_blizzard-512Carey Nieuwhof at Christian Week has made some predictions about where the church is heading in the future. I encourage you to read the article and follow his reasoning, but here’s his list of ten prognostications:

  1. 15166205471_c2649284d3_zThe potential to gain is still greater than the potential to lose.
  2. Churches that love their model more than the mission will die.
  3. The gathered church is here to stay.
  4. Consumer Christianity will die and a more selfless discipleship will emerge.
  5. Sundays will become more about what we give than what we get.
  6. Attendance will no longer drive engagement; engagement will drive attendance.
  7. Simplified ministries will complement people’s lives, not compete with people’s lives.
  8. Online church will supplement the journey but not become the journey.
  9. Online church will become more of a front door than a back door.
  10. Gatherings will be smaller and larger at the same time.

Of all these, I really hope that numbers 4 and 7 will lead the way.

What do you think?


23_snow_blizzard-512This week in music

In a few days, we mark the 57th anniversary of one of the pivotal events in U.S. rock-n-roll music history. And it took place in Iowa.

On a cold winter’s night a small private plane took off from Clear Lake, Iowa bound for Fargo, N.D. It never made its destination.

When that plane crashed, it claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson. Three of Rock and Roll’s most promising performers were gone. As Don McLean wrote in his classic music parable, American Pie, (annotated) it was “the day the music died.”

Performing in concert was very profitable and Buddy Holly needed the money it provided. “The Winter Dance Party Tour” was planned to cover 24 cities in a short 3 week time frame (January 23 – February 15) and Holly would be the biggest headliner. Waylon Jennings, a friend from Lubbock, Texas and Tommy Allsup would go as backup musicians.

Ritchie Valens, probably the hottest of the artists at the time, The Big Bopper, and Dion and the Belmonts would round out the list of performers.

The tour bus developed heating problems. It was so cold onboard that reportedly one of the drummers developed frostbite riding in it. When they arrived at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, they were cold, tired and disgusted.

Buddy Holly had had enough of the unheated bus and decided to charter a plane for himself and his guys….

The plane took off a little after 1 A.M. from Clear Lake and never got far from the airport before it crashed, killing all onboard.

A cold N.E wind immediately gave way to a snow which drastically reduced visibility. The ground was already blanketed in white. The pilot may have been inexperienced with the instrumentation.

One wing hit the ground and the small plane corkscrewed over and over. The three young stars were thrown clear of the plane, leaving only pilot Roger Peterson inside.

The Day the Music Died

Here is a link to a brief documentary on YouTube exploring the three artists who died that day. And here is a performance by Buddy Holly from the Ed Sullivan Show, Dec. 1, 1957:


  1. Oh, we got trouble…right here!

    Fear sells. How appropriate for the primaries.

  2. Once every four years you can say caucus on Internet Monk without being banished to moderation purgatory.

    • I participated in the Iowa caucuses one year, in 1980. I was a senior in High School, had just turned 18, and was convinced all America’s problems would be solved if we would just elect a really conservative Republican.

      If my memory serves me right, i headed to a house a few blocks from my home. There were about 20-30 of us in the living room. People gave short speeches on who they were voting for that night. I was for Phil Crane, an Illinois congressman. But George Bush took the living room.

      • That was the election that cemented the Republicans to the Religious Right. George H.W. Bush ran as a pro-choice candidate in 1980, and became pro-life only after signing on as Reagan’s V.P.—and after calling Reagan’s supply-side scheme “voodoo economics.” The Republicans haven’t looked back on either of those issues since.

        By the way, Dan, I voted for Reagan that year, for the same reason you mentioned. I’ve had second thoughts.

        • Speaking of second thoughts…
          I was in the first group of 18 yr olds to vote in the 1972 election—and I voted for Tricky Dick. I was stupid and shameless as a teenager…

          • I voted for Tricky Dick in our high school mock elections in ’72, but I was only 16. Growing up in a home with Paul Harvey News, Readers’ Digest and Lawrence Welk, that was what one did. Unless one turned hippie.

            Let’s see, you must have been one of the last to have sweated about the draft at age 18. They had stopped it before my 18th birthday, but we still had to register and get our cards. Mine arrived a few weeks before Tricky Dick resigned. So there is justice after all.

  3. I think Buddy Holly was 20 years ahead of his times.

    • He was a real treasure. His songs never get old; not only were they ahead of their time, they forged the way for many later rock singer-songwriters.

    • It’s amazing how something as tragic as that plane crash had impacts on the music industry. I heard Bobby Vee say at a concert a few years ago that after the crash, the concert producers in Fargo held last-minute auditions for local replacements for the show. He and his brother auditioned (as young teen-agers), were selected to go on, and that launched his music career.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says
    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      And filtered through Weird Al Yankovic:

    • Hersey warning:

      I genuinely don’t get what the fuss is about.

      What Dylan, the Beatles, the Stones, Cream, the Beach Boys etc did made a real difference to the direction of popular music. But Buddy Holly?

      • Buddy Holly was one of the influences on the Ramones. Buddy Holly was already doing the raw, guitar-driving, short, machine-gun pace set lists. Buddy Holly was the first punk rocker.

    • Christiane says

      LOVED Buddy Holly . . . a great talent gone too soon . . . one of a kind, he was

  4. Covering up that nude art is a betrayal of European history and identity. The Italian government deserves the mockery it’s receiving; there’s a real danger of such defensive ploys becoming habitual and widespread. That art is part of the greatness of European, of Italian, culture; there’s nothing to be embarrassed about, or that needs to be hidden.

  5. Senecagriggs yahoo says

    “4.Consumer Christianity will die and a more selfless discipleship will emerge.”
    I hope and pray this comes true in my life-time.

  6. Perhaps those statues should be blown up, eh? That way the risk to offending anybody’s sensibilities would be completely avoided.

    And maybe the vineyards where the wine grapes are grown should be burned down, and all the wine in all the cellars destroyed, to avoid offending anyone in the future by wine being included in any official receptions.

  7. Are those predictions that Nieuwhof made, or is that a wish list?

  8. Sundays will become more about what we give than what we get.

    He’s calling for more of the same in this and some other points. Church services focusing on the unconvinced outsiders rather than the believing community, being willing to constantly change worship services to fit the cultural needs expectations, putting mission before model (does he not know that the medium is the message?): isn’t this already what’s going on all across Christendom? Isn’t some of this the problem rather than the solution?

    • Yes to this, to a degree. You are right about a sense of contradiction. The churches complained about here are usually the ones focused on mission first (outsiders, reaching and impacting the community, etc…). They hold more to a missiology shaping their ecclesiology, so a discussion is needed on whether that is a “problem” or not. Failure to recognize that is what they are doing just misses their point and has people talking past each other.
      It is has been an on-going topic/debate for a long time.

  9. Are Satanists allowed to be elected to political office? Well, yes they are. Since they are so allowed, then they are also allowed to participate in every kind of function that a governing political body performs. Since many such bodies have prayer at the beginning of their sessions, then Satanists cannot rightly be excluded from leading that prayer. Want to stop Satanists from leading official prayer in your state House? Stop having official prayer.

    • Amen, Robert.

    • We should just all sit down and argue out, once and for all, which religion is True. We can then make that one the state religion with a clear conscience.


      • We can then make that one the state religion with a clear conscience.

        And prohibit those of other faiths from holding political office.

        • I think that might lead to covering up some nude statues. 🙂

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          We can then make that one the state religion with a clear conscience.

          And prohibit those of other faiths from holding political office.

          Or go all the way and Cleanse the Earth of those who do not convert to our One True Faith.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        What is there to discuss? It is immediately obvious that mine is the One True Church. Why would I join any of those false churches? Anyone who doesn’t concede the manifest truth of this is just trolling.

      • Randy Thompson says

        If we did that, we’d end up with the 21st Century American version of emperor worship. I’m not sure what that would look like, exactly, but it would involve lots of people at prayer rallies waving American flags. . . wait a minute. . . I’ve seen this somewhere. . .

    • “Stop having official prayer.”

      This is exactly what I’d like to see happen. I’m honestly surprised that there hasn’t been a court case to get rid of it—I expect there will be within the next 5-10 years if not sooner.

      • There have been court cases. They aren’t allowed at School Board meetings because of children but have been allowed with restrictions on prohibiting discrimination on what type of religion in the prayers at other government meetings, see Town of Greece v. Galloway 2014. The Satanists are showing the side effects of those restrictions (bit like the law allowing student run religious groups in state schools as a side effect also allowed Gay-Straight Alliance clubs and atheist clubs).

        • Still have yet to see what the problem is with any of those. Hell, let people wear their colanders in their ID photos; of course it looks silly, but we must allow the law to rule the day, even when it conflicts with our sensibilities, or drop the law entirely. Can I get a r’amen?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I have always gotten the vibe that this “Satanic Temple” is not that serious a group. More like the old Discordian Society, doing something outrageous and watching the reactions. In these cases, copying Christianese demands and Culture War court fights.

  10. About the statues: I understand that they are the crowning glory of Western civilization — and I’m not being sarcastic — but tell me this. When I lived in a conservative Muslim country, I wore a head covering any time I went to a village to avoid offending others and to protect those we visited from recrimination by their neighbors. In Liberia I didn’t wear shorts, even though it was always hot and “I had the right to.” When my recovering alcoholic friend is over, I don’t serve any alcohol or even cook with it; nor do I serve pork to my Jewish sister-in-law. If I am with vegetarians, I don’t demand meat. Am I wrong? Am I caving in to philistines who need to be shaken out of their narrow little ruts, or am I treating others as more important than myself? My first impression of the news story about the statues was to be pleasantly surprised that it occurred to someone in government to consider the sensibilities of others.

    If anyone replies, please avoid slippery slope fallacies.

    • Damaris, Should governments be in the business of censoring ancient and revered expressions of their national culture when foreign dignitaries visit? Or in the business of cleaning up all aspects of their culture that might be offensive to the visitor? Is it there responsibility to preserve the illusion of a narrow little rut where there is no such rut?

      In a conservative Muslim country, a visitor has no right to expect alcohol to be served at dinner; in a liberal European democracy, a visitor has no right to expect that no alcohol will be served.

      Btw, Marcus Aurelius, enlightened as he is said to have been, was one of the few Emperors of Rome who enacted a systematic, Empire-wide persecution of the early Christians. I don’t care about the genitals of his statue horse, but I consider him problematic as an honored figure of history. Should his figure be covered for Christian visitors of import who share my distaste for him?

    • Klasie Kraalogies says
    • And of course, Damaris, in attempting to be sensitive to the sensibilities of some, one may end up being insensitive to the sensibilities of others. As is so in this case, as evidenced by the sarcastic, critical and even outraged responses of many Italian citizens to the government’s decision.

      • Yes, but God forbid it should be the Christians who are hyper-sensitive and easily offended.

        • The Italian public may (or may not; I’m not sure) be mostly baptized, but the vast majority of them are completely disengaged from institutional Christianity. I would think that Italian officials are very unlikely to be practicing Christians.

        • When Iranian PM Rouhani met with the Pope at the Vatican, should the nudes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel have been covered to accommodate his sensibilities? Were they?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Christians don’t pull a Charlie Hebdo or 9/11 when they get “upset”.

          Fear Breeds Respect.

          • HUG, I don’t think I want to go down that path. Not too long ago, Christians were lynching black men in the US, and bombing the hell out of each other in Europe. A few years ago, citizens of nations that formerly called themselves Christian were bombing the hell out of Iraqui and Afghan cities, causing untold tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths in “collateral damage”; not to mention the drone war. In the latter cases, fear is breeding hatred.

    • The French got it right! Even the PRESENCE of wine at dinner is offensive? Fine. No dinner then.

      Why is it that the world is to bow to Iranian sensibilities (the Saudis don’t make a fuss like that) yet they, themselves, make no accommodation when others visit THEIR country?

      Damaris, you are just modeling Christ in your actions, but nations cannot be a Christian, nor should they be expected to conform to Christian modeling when their population is not uniformly Christian.

      I think that this is one more example of a country not wanting to offend a potentially dangerous country, just as was done in Munich in the late 1930’s. No, I agree that the statue issue was not significant, but it DOES display a growing mindset in the world at large.

      • Oscar, you’ve touched on the issue I always find so difficult: at what point are we supposed to STOP modeling Christ? I agree that countries can’t be Christian, but if — say — the head of Italy was a Christian, should he not follow the guidelines of the Letter to the Romans and avoid leading weaker people into doing something that might harm their consciences? I get the sense, with this and many other issues, that people think that Christian life and behavior might be fine at home, but once we’re in the public square we’d better conform to the world’s rules for politics, economics, etc. I can’t go along with that. If we genuinely want a radical transformation on earth, we have to carry Christ’s commandments everywhere we go, even if we are in consequence marginalized, persecuted, or (even worse) laughed at. I don’t assume that radical Christians will be successful in any sense, but I would hope we’d be transformative — kind of like Jesus himself. So I find it difficult to talk about politics, for example, because I don’t know how an individual Christian involved in political matters can turn off his Christianity in order to be practical.

        • And let me make it clear that the radical Christianity I’m stalking about is humility and self-sacrifice; NOT burning books and smashing statues but loving people whatever their their reading matter or decor. I love Western civilization and art — sometimes more than I love God, if I’m honest — and I have been just sick when I’ve read about the destruction IS has wrought in the Middle East, but even the greatest artwork pales in importance next to people.

          • Talking; I’m not stalking anyone . . .

          • Damaris, here is the real question, at least for Christians in a representative democracy: Are we to disregard the people we were elected to serve and represent in order to conform to our own personal view of piety? Or do we recognize that the standards that we FEEL we need to observe, personally, should be held in abeyance in view of the wider sensibilities of those we represent?

            Going back to Paul’s admonitions it is clear that not all matters of conscience are hard and fast rules for ALL. But neither are the lack of observances of those matters universally considered to be a sin. If a Christian decides to run for office, and his/her religious sensibilities are THAT strong, then he/she should be open communicating with the voting public and flat out say “My personal conscience will always trump your collective desires”.

            If they cannot, or WILL NOT, say that, then they shouldn’t go into politics.

            And, as an aside, I do not believe that the Iranian president could be considered to be “weaker in the faith” and, therefore, need accommodation so as to not “injure” his conscience.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Damaris, here is the real question, at least for Christians in a representative democracy: Are we to disregard the people we were elected to serve and represent in order to conform to our own personal view of piety?

            In the parallel universe of Christian Culture War, YES. 1000% YES. “GOD HATH SAID!!!!!”

        • Let’s say the head of state is a practicing Christian (I don’t know how likely that is in this case; probably not very): who should he try not to offend, his official visitor, who may be offended by nude statuary, or his fellow citizens, 95% of whom are not practicing Christians and may be offended by covering nude statuary?

          But then, perhaps Christians should not be heads of state, or police or soldiers, at all; that is the issue that your observations bring up, Damaris. After all, any of these official roles require coercion of one kind or another on the part of those who hold them; how can any such coercion be squared with Christ-like behavior toward others?

        • Damaris, I love your spirit and fundamentally agree with the thought that it is no shame to do whatever we can to not cause offense to our neighbor. Perhaps, though, this particular decision wasn’t clearly thought through. From what I’ve read, no one really knows who ordered the statues covered. The Iranians say they didn’t request it, the Italian government says they didn’t order it, and the museum has also stayed silent. I tend to think the entire kerfuffle could have been avoided had they simply chosen a different venue.

          • Good point, Mike. Common sense often cuts the Gordian knot.

          • Reading between the lines even slightly I assume it was done so images of the press conference could be used in Iranian media without editing. Since I doubt Iran has the Wests arbitrary, nudity in pre-1800 art doesn’t count as nudity unless it features an erect penis rule. It seems somewhat rude to invite someone to a press conference where the images will be unsuitable for public release.

          • It seems somewhat rude to invite someone to a press conference where the images will be unsuitable for public release.

            Yes, that’s true. I can see that point. Picking another venue would indeed have avoided the whole controversy and been courteous, since this was meant for consumption in the West and in Iran. Point well taken.

      • The French got it right! Even the PRESENCE of wine at dinner is offensive? Fine. No dinner then.

        Breakfast instead. Good thing the Bloody Mary isn’t French.

    • I find it fascinating that we are discussing the idea that a grown man – and politician – is actually offended by nudity. What an odd world we live in.

    • Well said, Damaris.

  11. I think Trump will win the Republican caucuses, and the nomination. He has a frighteningly powerful appeal to a demographic in that looks to the mythological former glories of the nation, and would restore those by action against the Other perceived to be responsible for the supposed decline. He’s telling lies that this demographic have been telling themselves for a long time, and he’s telling them in a big way. I will be surprised if he doesn’t win.

    • I think you’re right. Probably because I live in rural, middle America, I meet people frequently who, yes, believe what Trump espouses. They aren’t as bombastic about it, but it’s there. It’s as if they are sort of stuck in the 1950’s, fully on board with the sanitized version of life & history of that era, when, for example, racism really wasn’t considered racism, but just how things were supposed to be. And they want that back.
      What always surprises me is the anger aroused by those so & sos “taking our jobs” but how little anger there is at those so & sos hiring these “others”.

      • They aren’t as bombastic about it, but they’re glad that Trump is. And his loudness, the rhetorical violence of what he says, is encouraging them to be louder and more bombastic, too. I consider the existence and virulence and prevalence of such feelings and attitudes in the American populace more troubling than I do Trump himself.

      • ” for example, racism really wasn’t considered racism, but just how things were supposed to be. And they want that back.”

        Sounds just like Archie Bunker. (And there is a little of him in all of us.)

        • The funny thing about Archie Bunker is that when that show came on the scene, both my husband & I had grandfathers who HATED that show, but would never admit that it was because they were exactly like Archie! I am very disheartened that this Archie Bunker mentality hasn’t passed on.

          • My dear mother was always offended by Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character, for the same reason. She’s since mellowed out a little.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          And if you listen close to the opening theme, Archie Bunker is reacting to Future Shock. The world has changed, leaving him adrift in a confusing and DIFFERENT reality. His anchor points have disappeared and there is only the unfamiliar, the unknown, the DIFFERENT. And Archie clings to what was familiar as a stabilizer. (And this was before the plague of Smartphone Zombies…)

        • Stifle y’self!

    • We have to remember that the Republican caucus and the following primaries are proportional. That is, if Trump wins 40% of the vote, he wins 40% of the delegates. For him to “win” he has to get 50% plus one. If this pattern continues throughout the primaries we will end up with a brokered convention, so there is hope for some measure of sanity to prevail.

      The Dems, on the other hand, have a “winner take all” format. They also have a time limit on others (Biden) qualifying for inclusion to a state’s primary ballot so it looks like a race between Hill and Bern.

      Of course, you cannot discount some legal shenanigans taking place, such as when their candidate in New Jersey for the Senate was indicted for some federal offense, while the Republican candidate was running a close race, they just plopped Frank Lautenburg on the ballot and he won.

      Whatever happens, it will be interesting to watch (through my fingers as I cover my face).

      • If the “measure of sanity” that prevails results in a Cruz nomination, that’s not much, if any, improvement.

        • Fear not, Cruz will NOT win!

          • In any case, whoever is nominated, it does not neutralize the troubling readiness of so many Americans to embrace Trump’s demagoguery, and to look to a mythical past when their values supposedly prevailed, and the Other was held at bay. In other places and times, it was called Blood and Soil; here it goes by the name God, Family and Country, and its ascendance and vitality is very bad news.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I think Trump will win the Republican caucuses, and the nomination. He has a frighteningly powerful appeal to a demographic in that looks to the mythological former glories of the nation, and would restore those by action against the Other perceived to be responsible for the supposed decline.

      “Who is like unto The Trump? Who can stand against Him?”

      The Trump is working both Grievance Culture and Messiah Politics.
      He is stepping into a vacuum left by The Sixties and Baby Boomer Business As Usual.

      Invoking those “mythological former glories of the nation” that for 50 years have been deconstructed with a Seinfeld Sneer and twelve-syllable words of socio-political psychobabble. Those “mythological glories” are the Old Old Stories of a people, their tales of Great Deeds and Heroes. (Like the tale of The Exodus was and is to the Jews.) They served as a “core curriculum” and stabilizer for a culture.

      Where there are no Old Stories of greatness, the people perish — “Yeah. Whatever.”
      Or break apart like Yugoslavia and go for the throats of all the Others.
      Or grab for whatever Mythic Hero they can — Trump, Clinton, or Kardashian.

      • Who is like unto the Trump?

        I bet if you sent that to him, he’d use it in his campaign. But please don’t.

  12. Is prayer part of the Satanist religion?

  13. The white farmhouses,
    the whiter fields full of snow,
    the earth full of light.

  14. I predict that the presidential primaries will be mildly interesting, somewhat entertaining, more full of bombast than a Saturday Rambling at the Monastery, admittedly hard to do, and in the end irrelevant.

    As to the election proper I predict:

    1) No Republican will win the election.

    2) Hillary Clinton will not win the election.

    3) Chances are that the 2016 election will not be held as scheduled.

    • Charles, What do you predict will happen instead of the scheduled election?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Nuclear War?

      • >>Charles, What do you predict will happen instead of the scheduled election?

        Not the kind of thing that can be predicted and there are multiple possibilities. Obviously would take something on the scale of a real national emergency. Not saying it’s going to happen but I would bet a hundred bucks on it if I could get a thousand to one odds and a guaranteed payoff. This seat on the fifty yard line is well worth a hundred bucks.

        One possibility that HUG misses is the New Madrid fault letting go, and I would put that at the top of his list. By the way, to avoid looking ignorant, the good people of New Madrid pronounce the name of their town as New MAH-drid with an Appalachian accent. I’m also betting the journalists and professors screw that up.

        • Add to this the very likely possibility of a major financial shock early this year. Let the layoffs start ticking up again, and all bets are off. If 2008 round two checks in, accompanied by a major earthquake in the Heartland , either at Cairo or in Oklahoma, or maybe the Yellowstone dome…

          … and Donald Trump’s rabid, lynching hordes will be the least of our worries.

          We will have at least two independent candidates. If H1-B pimp Mario Rubio or Mark Zuckerberg’s personal Senator Ted Cruz win the nomination, I’m sure Trump will run as an independent. I am hoping against hope that Jim Webb does run as an independent, as that will give me someone I can vote for with a clean conscience. Maybe Bloomberg. A Trump-Clinton or Cruz-Clinton contest would bring independent candidates out from under the floorboards.

          I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. I might have voted for Fiory, but probably not.

  15. The potential to gain is still greater than the potential to lose.
    Churches that love their model more than the mission will die.
    The gathered church is here to stay.
    Consumer Christianity will die and a more selfless discipleship will emerge.
    Sundays will become more about what we give than what we get.
    Attendance will no longer drive engagement; engagement will drive attendance.
    Simplified ministries will complement people’s lives, not compete with people’s lives.
    Online church will supplement the journey but not become the journey.
    Online church will become more of a front door than a back door.
    Gatherings will be smaller and larger at the same time.

    Discipleship can be a very dirty four letter word. I think the modern understanding of it is akin to “shepherding”. Discipleship, this type, needs to die in the church, and be replaced with true discipleship towards Christ, not the MoG or flavor of the week.

    Mandatory engagement will drive attendance also, I’m guessing. Code words for “get plugged in”.

    I’m unimpressed by this list. It’s wishy washy and refuses to address any legit concerns people have, in favor of “it’ll keep working, but BETTER!”

  16. –> “Of all these, I really hope that numbers 4 and 7 will lead the way.”

    Those two jumped out at me, too, especially #7.

  17. David Cornwell says

    Regarding the cartoon with the Candidate Mud Pit: This looks a lot like the manure pit on my son-in-law’s farm just up the road from me. What’s more, they are very toxic from the gasses they emit to the point of lethality. Occassionaly an animal will fall into one and need assistance to get out. Humans might die as they give off “oxygen-deficient, toxic, and/or explosive atmospheres.”

    Helping people out of those pits can also be very dangerous. Seems very apt for this political season.

    it also sorta reminds me the The Slough of Despond in Pilgrim’s Progress.

  18. Randy Thompson says

    Regarding the elections:

    I’ve been thinking of this for some time.

    I think we should turn over the control of the country to the This Old House guys. They can build or fix anything, and they have their own tools.

  19. Regarding the Mud Pit picture:

    Negative campaigning in America was sired by two lifelong friends, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who ran against each other in 1800. Things got ugly fast. Jefferson’s camp accused President Adams of having a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”

    In return, Adams’ men called Vice President Jefferson “a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.”

    As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.

    In Andrew Jackson’s 1828 campaign against John Quincy Adams, the slurs flew back and forth, with John Quincy Adams being labeled a pimp, and Andrew Jackson’s wife getting called a slut.

    As the election progressed, editorials in the American newspapers read more like bathroom graffiti than political commentary. One paper reported that “General Jackson’s mother was a common prostitute, brought to this country by the British soldiers! ”

    By contrast with our revered forefathers, the current campaigners seem fit to have tea with Jane Austen!

  20. Totally outside of politics, what is the year and model of the car up top?

  21. Christiane says

    when I think about those nude statues and how they were covered up so as not to ‘offend’, what comes to mind is a crucifix of Our Lord, with His sinless body portrayed as clothed instead of naked . . . strange. this, because before the Fall, the innocent Adam and Eve had felt no need of clothes;
    and Our Lord came into this world as a naked infant and died in agony as One without sin and without covering