November 30, 2020

The IM Saturday Brunch: 6/10/17 – Cincinnati Edition


”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

Cincinnati. Photo by Ted.

Photo by Ted at Flickr. Creative Commons License

• • •

We’re hosting the Brunch from Cincinnati this weekend, where tonight we’ll be enjoying one of our best singer-songwriters, Paul Simon, in concert. I thought while we were here, we might explore a few of the strange and unusual sites The Queen City has to offer.

How about we start with the American Sign Museum, where its collection starts in the 1970s and goes back into the 1800s, featuring signs of every sort, made from almost every material imaginable. Among the notable signs are the Sputnik-like “Satellite” sign, hand-built to advertise a strip mall, a single-arch McDonald’s sign with the pre-Ronald “Speedee” character, and over 200 other signs. Some of the most beautiful signs are those from the pre-neon era, including signs advertising haberdashers, cobblers, druggists, and other turn-of-the-century businesses.

Then maybe we’ll pop over to Ohio’s Lucky Cat Museum, where you can enjoy displays of over 1,000 examples of the iconic plastic cat statues that beckon customers to enter Asian restaurants across the country. The Lucky Cat or Maneki-neko is a Japanese symbol that dates back over 100 years. Makes me hungry for crab rangoon…

Allergic to cats? Well, how about we go mushroom hunting — mushroom house hunting, that is. Cincinnati’s Mushroom House was designed by architecture professor Terry Brown. Brown used warped shingles and oddly wrapping staircases to give his one bedroom home in the Hyde Park neighborhood a look like no other. Come on, be a “fun guy” and join us!

Of course, for long time readers of Internet Monk, you know that no visit to Cincy would be complete without a jog up the road to Monroe to see the big Jesus statue at the Solid Rock Church.

You may recall that Chaplain Mike, Jeff Dunn, Denise Spencer, and several other iMonks had gathered in Cincinnati to go to a Reds game in Michael Spencer’s honor one weekend in June 2010. When, lo and behold, the skies opened, an angel of the Lord descended, and the glory of the Lord in a lightning storm turned the original statue at the church into a giant fireball. That previous statue, King of Kings, was made famous in the Heywood Banks’ song, “Big Butter Jesus.” It was also known as “Touchdown Jesus,” and it became a popular photographic subject for fans of The Ohio State University, who would align Jesus’ upraised arms as the “H” when spelling out “O-H-I-O”. Heywood ended up writing another verse about “Fireball Jesus,” but the church persevered and put up another one.

This new one is officially named Lux Mundi — Latin for “Light of the World.” But it has garnered some nicknames too: some call him “Hug Me Jesus,” but my personal favorite is “Five Dollar-Footlong Jesus,” because today’s Jesus won’t settle for loaves and fishes; he wants loaves and delicious deli meats.

The original, one and only, “Big Butter Jesus”


Fireball Jesus 2010


The new (hopefully fireproof) Hug Me Jesus

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s hear it for our Brunch entertainment for the day: the peerless Heywood Banks.

• • •


Here in Indianapolis, we had a public controversy about a display this past week. Don Woodsmall, head of a company called LightPoint Impressions, sold advertising space on a billboard on one of our main highways to a “group of patriotic Americans” who he said were denied advertising by national companies. Here’s the billboard about the prophet Mohammed they put up:

Ain’t it great, livin’ in the heartland?

• • •


Ah, but there are always those who go above and beyond, sacrificing to overcome evil with good. In my town, we had the feel-good story of the week.

After our town cemetery was hit with some of the worst vandalism we’ve ever seen around here, a local man, Franklin Monument Company owner Tim Stakelbeck, took care of the costly work of repair and would not take payment for it.

Just before Memorial Day weekend, some knuckleheads did damage to a dozen of gravestones, some more than 100 years old. It would have cost at least $1000 to repair them, but Stakelbeck stepped up and did the work gratis. Back in 2008, when devastating floods knocked down 73 headstones, he volunteered his time and helped repair that damage. Now, he’s gone the extra mile again.

This is what living in a small town and being part of a community is all about.

Kudos to you, Tim Stakelbeck.

• • •


We learned this week that the state of Texas has the worst maternal mortality rate in the developed world. A University of Maryland-led study found that the state’s maternal mortality rate doubled between 2010 and 2012. Especially troubling is the finding that black women have 11% of the births in Texas, but they have a death rate of 28%. Representative Shawn Thierry, a black woman who almost died in childbirth four years ago, has spearheaded efforts to research reasons for this crisis and find solutions. But the legislators in Texas apparently have other things on their minds.

According to an article in the Texas Observer:

In the 2017 legislative session, [Representative Shawn] Thierry’s No. 1 priority was legislation requiring more research into why so many new African-American mothers in Texas are dying. But despite bipartisan support, the measure was indiscriminately killed by the far-right House Freedom Caucus last month as part of what came to be known as the “Mother’s Day Massacre.”

Despite what appears to be an alarming crisis, lawmakers set only modest goals for the session. Most legislation focused on extending research efforts, rather than addressing what the maternal mortality task force has said is the underlying problem: lack of access to health care. Even the calls for more research languished during a legislative session in which trans people’s bathroom use was a top priority. In the end, only two piecemeal bills dealing with maternal mortality passed.

Legislators failed to even extend the task force itself; it’s now set to expire in September 2019. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick killed legislation that would’ve continued the research group through 2023 in order to try to force a special sessionover the so-called bathroom bill and property tax reform. (The task force bill was caught up in a last-minute standoff between the House and Senate. The House added an amendment that would have avoided a special session by continuing critical agencies, including the Texas Medical Board. Patrick balked and the bill never came up for a final vote.)

“Women’s health once again got caught in the political crossfire,” said Thierry.

• • •


Here’s a special section in the Jerusalem Post, where you can read articles and day-by-day summaries of each day in the 1967 conflict.

Here’s a picture essay at Reuters.

Here’s an intriguing piece about how a conservative religious party in Israel has gained power, beginning with the Six-Day War.

Finally, the Six-Day War sparked a renewed interest in “biblical prophecy” that is talked about in this Times of Israel article, which spotlights a CBN docudrama called “In Our Hands,” marking the war’s 50th anniversary. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Gordon Robertson, son of the outspoken conservative televangelist Pat Robertson, remembers being nine years old when his Southern Baptist pastor father sat the family down, Bibles at their side, to read and understand the ramifications of Israel’s recent victory in the 1967 Six Day War.

“We would normally talk about politics over the dinner table,” recalled Robertson, now 59, “but this was different, this was, ‘all right, everyone, open your Bibles, I’m going to walk you through the prophecies that were just fulfilled.’”

“He wanted to emphasize that not too many times in your life do you get to say, a prophecy just got fulfilled,” he said. “This isn’t just a prophecy from the Old Testament, this is a prophecy from the New Testament as well, that just happened.”

Israel’s victory in June 1967 was a seminal moment in Robertson’s young life, followed by his first trip to Israel two years later at age 11, when he visited the Western Wall for the first time.

“The joy, in 1969, was absolutely incredible,” said Robertson. “The exultation — I can’t really explain it, it’s one of those things that’s really intangible. There was a moment there, there was a part of Judaism I had never seen before.”

Robertson has been sharing these personal anecdotes with the press as he publicizes his latest Christian Broadcasting Network project, “In Our Hands,” a 108-minute docudrama created by CBN Documentaries to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War.

• • •


Why are evangelicals outliers on the subject of climate change?

Are we in danger of another Dust Bowl?

“Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”

Did Bernie Sanders seek to impose a “religious test” for public office?

Why are bald men being hunted down and killed in Mozambique?

Who was the real Robert E. Lee?

Is it more masculine to fix a car or fold laundry?

• • •

Meanwhile, back in Cincinnati, I can’t wait for tonight…


  1. Christiane says

    Texas is a strange, strange place. ‘Nuff said.

  2. Susan Dumbrell says

    I have been promoting women’s health in East Africa, as you all know.
    Those women have no one to call on. They need our help.
    They and their children die from neglect and hunger. We must listen and act.


    The axis moving
    from down to up, all are one
    Creation blesses.

    Enjoy your Play Day.
    Blessings to all,

    • Good evening Susan. How’s it going down there at the Antipodes?

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        Hi Tom,
        A rough day yesterday but if you read my comments of the past few hours/yesterday, the Holy Spirit was with me and my husband. Even though we tread in rough roads there are smooth paths too.
        Do read my entries of yesterday. It was quietly amazing.
        Hope you are well. Nice to hear from you.
        (The world hasn’t shifted on its axis “YET”. ) Watch for pronouncements from the leader of the first world!
        Hoping for good weather to drive to my new church community. in the morning. I am so fortunate they accept me and I am free to worship without boundaries.

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    That “Satellite” sign came from my area; a strip mall on Katella Ave just west of the 5 freeway. Strip mall’s been there since the Fifties, but was completely remodeled when the 5 was rebuilt.

    Punch in “220 E Katella Way, Anaheim, CA” for a look at the site today. It’s on the south side of the street, flagged as “Satellite Market”. Before the 5 was rebuilt, Katella Ave swerved north in an S-curve to go over the old freeway; Satellite Market (and the sign) were on a dead-end side street (Katella Way) on the original (and current) alignment of Katella.

    • That’s cool, HUG.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        The “Satellite” sign also echoes a light fixture popular in interior decor of the Fifties and First 1960s. Don’t remember what it was called (“Satellite”? “Starburst”?), but take the “Satellite” sign, shrink the center ball as far as you can, add more spikes with a light bulb at the end of each, and hang it from the ceiling by a rod, and you have it. I remember seeing them in a lot of restaurants and stores when I was a kid.

    • The Howard Johnson’s sign brings back some memories. My family frequently traveled to New England to visit relatives when I was growing up, and I recall the Howard Johnson’s restaurants which were ubiquitous in service areas along the Northeastern toll roads. We also frequently stayed at Howard Johnson’s motels along the way. Sigh, those were the days.

  4. Now that I’ve made my presence known, I’m scrolling back to the top to take in CM’s offering for the morning.

  5. To the stars and beyond kudos to Tim Stakelbeck.

  6. In reference to the linked article about a return to the Dust Bowl days…

    The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) MAIN intention was to take crop land out of production so as to decrease grain production and thus raise commodity prices. It made sense to sell the program as a two-fer. The land set-aside contracts were for 10 yrs, which, imo was much better than the old Soviet Union “5-year plans”. And, a 10 yr contract will likely straddle the terms of a POTUS and not lock farmers too solidly into something where they were totally inflexible to significant market changes.

    The CRP begin in 1985, at the end of Ronnie’s first term and the height of the “Farm Crisis”. The origins of the Farm Crisis date to TrickyDick’s second term where negotiations opened up the Soviet Union as a large market for our grains, especially wheat. USDA economist told farmers that it would be impossible to produce enough grain for the new market (China had also opened as a market for US commodities) and prices were only going up. Midwest farmers bulldozed out tree wind-breaks that often had been planted in the 30’s-40’s. Corn, beans, and wheat were planted “fencerow to fencerow”. Cropland prices were bid out the roof. Everyone borrowed money based on the inflated value of their cropland.

    The bubble began to rapidly deflate when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December of 1979. Jimmy Carter’s response to the invasion (the Soviets intention was to prop up their proxy president) was to slap on a US grain embargo. As a result the farming economy dropped through the floor. Over the next 5-6 years farm foreclosures were about the only thing happening. Things were terrible, especially in the Midwest. Suicides were common in farming communities.

    This was a period of major farm industry restructuring, or, I should say, the beginning of it. The ripples also affected the meat-packing and farm equipment sectors, and, combined with the effects of Reaganomics we were into a major deflationary cycle. Unions lost clout and members. Prior to ’79 a “typical” worker on the kill line was in the $18-22/hr. range, and they were all members of the Union. From ’79 on meat packing companies lowered their cost by busting the Unions–mostly by going bankrupt and reorganizing. Those $20/hr jobs were now available for $7-9/hr. Folks could no longer make it on one job and one income earner. It was the new normal in the Midwest that many people worked two jobs—and it wasn’t unusual to hold down three. The Farm Crisis affected more than just the crop and livestock producers; a receding tide lowers all boats.

    The Farm Crisis is the origin of the meth epidemic.


    Yep. Go back and read my last longish paragraph—especially this sentence;

    “It was the new normal in the Midwest that many people worked two jobs—and it wasn’t unusual to hold down three.”

    If you have to do that kind of schedule week in and week out you’re gonna need some of “momma’s little helper”, so to speak. Meth is cheap and easily produced from stuff you (used to be able to) buy at WalMart.

    I began serious pig production in 1979. It was tough, but grain prices were low—and so were pig prices. ’90-81 were 0 profit years. ’82 was a GREAT profit year; paid lots of SEP tax. 1983 saw a major drought throughout all of the Midwest. ’83 took back all—and then some—that ’82 had given. The turning point in the pork industry was October of 1985 when the USDA Hogs and Pig Report showed a major drop in sow numbers. From ’86-95 I made a lot of money. The pig producer was in the driver’s seat because grain was cheap and pig numbers stayed relatively low. During that period a lot of crop acreage went into CRP, which was a sure way to have crop acreage income.

    During that period of the Farm Crisis Midwest corn producers were looking for ways to get stored grain moved out of bins. The “alcohol mandate” resulted and ethanol plants began to spring up. By 2006 approx. 40% of the corn crop was being turned into fuel ethanol—IOW, corn was now being priced on the world oil market. In October 2007 the last of our sows rode the truck off our farm and became sausage and pizza toppings. The pork industry in the years since has restructured in such a way that it resembles more the poultry industry. 3-4 companies in the US control well over 90% of poultry production and processing. At this point in the pork industry I figure you could have a meeting in a 500 sq. ft. room that would comfortably seat the folks that control >90% of the pork production.

    Ok, so that’s my experience of CRP and the Farm Crisis. There are enough details I haven’t mentioned that could easily fill a 400 page book. For instance, there was the “Pick and Roll” strategy that resulted from the USDA “payment in kind” program by the USDA–and it’s a great story of how some farmers in Iowa talking one morning down at the cafe devised a way to legally game the system…but that’s another story.

    • Shore would be groovy to have an “edit” button…

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > Shore would be groovy to have an “edit” button…

        I’ve thought that many times.

        >but that’s another story.

        I used to be a shepherd with Angora/Mohair goats. You could make money at ~$3lb, or even higher for high-grade stuff. But …. Geopolitics! Prices crashed to ~$1lb, and even less. That was the end of economic viability. Would have been a very different life.

        Agriculture is tough gig; commodities that are easily shipped and stored can perilous.

        At least in my story it was the rapid democratization and economic ascension of Africa that was the underlying story. So – bad for us – but very good for a whole lot of them.

        • Yes Adam, I remember the wool market tanking. In the 80’s-early 90’s wool and mohair became a favored suit and coat material–then designers decided to un-favor it. I don’t remember the geopolitics relative to it, though. Remind us?

          In our last year of pig production we were selling 18-21 day old pigs for $27. By mid-summer 2007 those pigs brought $4-5. Inverse correlation between grain and pig prices.

          The axiomatic saying about pig production used to be, “Every 3 years the industry eats its young.” I lasted about 10 of those cycles.

          • My parents had a small Rambouillet herd for mostly keeping the grass and brush down in the equipment yard (~3 acres) of their farm equipment business. However, dad managed them well, sheared, sold lambs, and we slaughtered a few every year for our own consumption. I love grilled lamb chops.

      • Ronald Avra says

        Interesting story, Tom. I never pig farmed, but I did help pour the gutters and slabs for a couple.

        • Ronald, I was a small, independent producer of feeder pigs, then later early weaned piglets. In 1980 I built a farrowing/nursery with flush gutters. Lactation was in individual huts with outside oak slatted floors. I cycled a LOT of sows through those facilities. The sow herd were out in the woods until 1990 when I built a group housing gestation barn with computerized individual feeding. Maintained a closed herd using AI to produce pure breeding lines that I crossed for commercial production.

          It was all hard work, but I was young and didn’t have to go to the gym to keep fit ;o)

    • Politics in farming is what taught me not to trust politics in general. The things you are talking about are a little before my time, but I remember well the Tobacco buy-out deal between the government and farmers, and it was an incredible misuse of tax-payers money, not to mention just a crooked deal. Before the buy-out the government regulated how much tobacco a farmer could raise by assigned a base number of acres or pounds per deeded farm. This was done to help control prices due to violence that broke out in the very early 1900’s when prices dropped too low for too long. Now if you wanted to raise more than your allocation you could lease another farms base for a year. Since this was something that could be rented out it was seen as part of the property value. Now this was something the government arbitrarily created and they could have just as easily ended it for nothing. But instead when they wanted to end the program they decided to buy out the base or pounds they had allocated to the farm. This was a waste of tax-payer money in my mind but I guess a case could be made that there were some relatively poor land owners who depended on the money from renting that base and since the government created the situation they should pay for it. The crooked part comes in that if a land owner leased out his or her base they only got 80% of the base and the renter got 20%. Now if the buy out is necessary to compensate for the lost property value and income, why on earth did the renter get 20%. The only explanation is that there were big tobacco farmers who helped the politicians put this plan together and made sure to get major pay out for it. So big tobacco farmers who didn’t actually own the base received hundreds of thousands of dollars from this buy out, only to continue to raise just as much if not more tobacco without government interference by contracting directly with the tobacco companies. And so I learned in politics, follow the money and you will find the reason.

  7. “Why are evangelicals outliers on the subject of climate change?”

    Well, since the actual article isn’t linked… 😉 I’ll just take a curmudgeonly guess, in the form of a syllogism.

    1) evangelicalism has, by design or default become the “state church” of white middle class suburban life.

    2) if climate change is really happening, suburban middle class life would have to make the most changes to help alleviate the consequences (We are now LONG past preventing them).

    3) therefore… well, you can probably fill in the rest.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      1.) Yes
      2.) Yes (see last week)
      3.) Yep

      It is barely complex enough to even be interesting; essentially “the onus would fall on us? so, no, it isn’t true”.
      Like so much of the economic fiction that is white middle class suburbia, climate change denial fits in nicely.

    • Well I can add a couple:

      4. The biggest proponents of climate change are liberals and the media and are therefore automatically suspicious.

      5. The wealthiest proponents of climate change who could actually change their lifestyles and produce a lot less carbon, have done absolutely nothing to change. Hypocrisy isn’t just damaging to the church, it is damaging to any cause, and the rich well known climate changers have hypocrisy in spades.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        4.) I agree. It has devolved into a kind of tribalism. Conversations move much too quickly into an us-vs-them you-vs-me mode; when this is a topic where that *really* does not need to happen. I’ve been at the table(s) in infrastructure committee/commission meetings – – – there is SO MUCH we could do that would be win-win-win-win-win (urban-rural-commercial-minority-environmental). The tribalism creates many head-meets-desk moments.

        5.) Nah. I don’t honestly even know who the “wealthiest proponents of climate change” are; this is an outgrowth of #4. This is really 4.1 more than it is 5. To move the needle requires MANY MANY people to change something – sometimes even just a little. Little movements of the numbers AT SCALE is where the wins are. Jillionares flying about in their private jets don’t even register – – – and how many Jillionares show up at the table anyway? I’ve met ONE [who was not a household name, and is dead now, sadly], and I’ve heard of ONE [Al Gore]. They are irrelevant; and only used as tropes for #4.

        5.1.) I am *aware* of a few Jillonares who are quietly doing things, these are not household name Js; and they are not doing the kind of things that keep “journalists” from falling asleep in the back of the room. But what they are doing WILL wiggle the needle. Sometimes what is Impossible-with-a-capital-I for anyone else is something a J can do – – – like build railroad overpasses over national borders. Like…. seriously? How can you do that? Mere-advocate-gazes-upon-it-in-wide-eyed-wonder… Behold, the power of the Js. That his motivation may be purely that it will make his life easier? Ok. No problem, I’m fine with that. A win is a win.

        5.1.1.) [ASIDE] I cannot help but contemplate that the inability of some to stay awake in the back of the room is why, not only is our “news” so vapid, but why journalists are not affluent. Because… really… you can’t see the side-effect investment potential of what the people at the front of the room are saying? That is also head-meets-desk. All journalists do is walk around and hear things! Good golly; do they find it all THAT boring?

        • The hypocrisy is connected to 4, but it is its own separate point. A few people making real changes wouldn’t stop climate change, but it would show that they actually take it seriously. Lead by example. If I claim to be concerned about poverty but don’t personally help in anyway, would you take me seriously?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          4 is another application of the Zero Sum Game, I.e. “Since there’s only so much of X to go around, the only way to get more for Me is to take it away from You”. The only way for My Tribe to win is to Make Your Tribe LOSE.

          I remember the early Environmental Movement of the Seventies, specifically the Club of Rome and “Spaceship Earth” meme where “We are all passengers on this One Small Spaceship Earth”. Except instead of Singing Kum-By-Yah and Sharing as the meme intended, they cued up the Zero Sum Game.

      • 4) I wholeheartedly disagree. So who is really the #1 proponent of climate change? Scientists.

        If you have a health-related issue, do you go to a doctor, or a car mechanic? If you have a leaky pipe, do you consult a gardener, or a plumber? It always baffles me when discussing an issue like this, people will seek validation from anyone BUT scientists themselves on an explicitly science-related issue. We’re not just talking about a couple of rogue scientists with some outlandish hypothesis–we’re talking about the nearly unanimous consensus of the scientific community as a whole. I don’t know about you, but if I didn’t understand the science myself, I sure as heck would rather air on the side supported by scientists than those whose career is not even remotely tied to the issue.

        • err * I erred in the spelling of err 😛

          Even *if* one does not have absolute confidence in all of the science, wouldn’t it still be wiser to err on the side of caution? Even *if* it were all a big hoax, would it really be so bad if we ended up with energy independence, energy that is sustainable, a greener, healthier planet (including cleaner air/water), more jobs in renewable technologies as a result?

          • I agree completely. Even if change is a hoax, what will renewable energy hurt?
            Kinda like whoever said (Pascal?) that you might as well believe in God. If he’s a fake, you are out nothing, but if he isn’t…

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              Agree. There is ZERO downside. Everything “green energy” / “clean energy” is stuff we should do for a dozen other reasons [anyway].

              • Sorry have to disagree. I live in South Australia where the state government has an ideological stand on green energy. Last summer we suffered several blackouts because the green energy system was unable to cope with the weather conditions, didn’t produce enough power. The government having decided to close coal-fired power stations in the state. The remaining gas ffired station is not kept on line because it’s not economical to do so given the subsidies provided by the government to green energy. By the way, we have the highest electricity prices in Australia. This is a matter of huge debate in Australia because we are living with the consequences of the rush to be politically correct on climate when there are all sorts of questions over the basic hypothesis. Green energy cannot produce the base load power required for industry. South Australia has become the exemplar in how green energy doesn’t work and has consequences for individuals and industry – nobody wants to set up business in a state that can’t guarantee power.

                • I think it’s clear we’re early in a time of transition when it comes to energy. But the trends are pretty clear also, IMO. “Green” energy is one of the fastest growing sectors of the U.S. economy. As your example shows, there will be many, many challenges and pitfalls along the way.

                  • Exactly, and that’s the whole point–we need to invest more in this technology to make it more practical and sustainable for the long haul. We certainly have the resources and the brainpower to figure it out.

                    While I am unaware of how other countries are dealing with it, I don’t think anyone here is suggesting shutting off every source non-renewable energy source instantly and switching everything to wind/solar all at once…

                • South Australia has become the exemplar in how green energy doesn’t work and has consequences for individuals and industry

                  All you’ve done is make the case for green energy designed by politicians is a bad idea.

        • I’m talking about what we actually get to see on tv and internet news sights. I’ve seen just as many liberal politicians and celebrities quoted as scientists, thus the issue gets tied to them

          • Well that is certainly true.

            And unfortunately a lot of it gets muddied by pop-science (from both sides) and is communicated by shallow cliches and catch-phrases

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              …communicated by shallow cliches and catch-phrases

              “Effective Propaganda consists of Simplification and Repetition.”
              — Reichsminister Josef Goebbels

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          4) I wholeheartedly disagree. So who is really the #1 proponent of climate change? Scientists.

          And how much does the Evangelical Circus trust the word of Scientists?

    • Link fixed.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      “Why are evangelicals outliers on the subject of climate change?”

      1) End Time Prophecy – “It’s All Gonna Burn Anyway!”
      2) SCRIPTURE(TM)!

      There’s a story that in Florida a state-level official forbade anyone under him to even speak of “Climate Change”, citing and quoting Genesis 9:11.

      Fath… “The Substance of Things Hoped For” or “Denial of Physical Evidence”?

  8. Iain Lovejoy says

    “Big butter Jesus…” that song is now permanently stuck in my head. Cheers.

      • Another great statue song! Thanks for the link, Eeyore.

        • I could introduce you to a song called “My Great Granddad John” written by a man called Doc Cox… but I think I’ll leave you to hunt it down for yourselves.

          Be aware that he also records under the name of Ivor Biggun, and the lyrics are rather explicit.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Didn’t listen, I won’t be tricked! It will also then be associated with the beauty that is actual Butter.

      • I had completely forgotten just how bizarre and ugly that Big Butter Jesus was. I saw it once & it was just as bizarre and ugly for real. Made even more strange by the fact that the property next to it was a toy warehouse or something with large giraffes and other animals on the roof.
        Makes we wish for a Christain wide ban on images of God, like some other religions have. You can then avoid the weirdness.

        • Sadly you can’t. At that point you get people saying they’ve seen the image of Jesus in the Marmite spread on their toast… (sorry, that’s an English thing)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says


  9. A whole Brunch about Cincinnati and no mention of chile.

    • Maybe next week it’ll be a whole brunch about South America and no mention of chili. ?

    • Sorry Mule, just focused on sites today. Chili in Cincinnati brings back memories of going to football games when my son played in college. Whenever we came over to Cincy, it was always a treat to pick up some chili on the way and enjoy it out in the cold on the bleachers. I love the different ways it’s fixed here.

    • “Cincinnati Chili” has nothing to do with real chili. Sorry.

      How this strange pasta dish got to be called chili is a mystery to me.

      • True it is some odd stuff but I do enjoy it whenever visiting or occasionally I make it. In my mind, it’s always been either a love it or a hate it relationship with Cincy chili…. it is surprising though when you introduce it to folks that haven’t ever had it. It really has to be explained – especially the concept of adding it to spaghetti! It’s really a Mediterranean meat sauce… but what the heck it’s “kind-of” like chili. Kind-of.

  10. SottoVoce says

    I’m sorry to say that a lack of interest in maternal health makes a sick and perverted kind of sense from a fundagelical perspective. A mother is a woman who has, by definition and without question, had sex.* She has also produced either an all-important male, or a virgin female who will someday belong to an all-important male. Both males and virgin females are worth more to society than a woman who has become visibly tainted with the stigma of having had sex. Therefore, the woman has fulfilled her purpose and is now disposable.

    *When early Christianity was formed, there was an ideal floating around in the Jewish community about being “one-hearted”–focused on God with your whole being with no distractions. Christianity decided that sex was an obstacle to wholehearted devotion to God and ran with it, setting up millennia of unnecessary conflict and death over normal human reproduction. Read over the Epistles with this in mind some time. (Source: A History of Private Life, volume 1)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      I’m sorry to say that a lack of interest in maternal health makes a sick and perverted kind of sense from a fundagelical perspective.

      And it doesn’t matter at all.
      To a Fundy, the only thing worth considering if she dies from maternal health neglect was “WAS SHE SAVED?????”
      Everything else? “IT’S ALL GONNA BURN!”

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Pro-life doesn’t mean pro-life, it means pro-birth at all costs, and then punish the mother if she suffers, punish the family if they are poor, punish the kids if a parent has a criminal record, keep the wrong sort of people from getting an education etc etc.

      It is a perverse sort of eugenics, whereby an ideal stratified society is formed, with criminal and poor classes to do menial jobs and to practice target shooting on and to say to they own white Christian Republican selves “Thank God I am about liek those others over there….”.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says

        Nasty typo in that last sentence..

        ” Thank God I am not like those others over there…”

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        The GOP rings Dr Pavlov’s Abortion bell,
        The Christian dogs salivate.

  11. Tophergraceless says

    Isn’t the increase in the mother mortality rates in Texas almost directly tied to the fact that Texas caused a bunch of Planned Parenthood Parenthoods to close mostly in rural and low income neighborhoods? Also interesting that the party that claims to be pro-life can’t be bothered to protect the mother who decide to try and give birth. It’s almost as if pro-life is just an meaningless phrase used to justify punishing poor woman for having sex conservatives don’t like.

    • Dana Ames says

      Community Health Centers provide the bulk of women’s health care throughout the country, and are not abortion providers. PP has a lot of private donors and is not lacking in money.


      • Tophergraceless says

        Exactly most PP don’t provide abortions but do provide health services for woman especially low income. When Texas government forced them to close they were never replaced this leading to the rise in mother mortality. Community centers also made it very clear they could not absorb the patients who lost their health care providers when the pps we’re closed. Planned Parenthoods are health clinics that take insurance, are reimbursed by Medicaid and offer low cost and free services, yes they get private donations but that is not going to cover all their costs. No government money goes towards abortions. Community health centers tend to have longer wait times and don’t always take the uninsured. Sometimes Planned Parenthoods are the only health center in an area, by closing them and not replacing them you make it so poor women cannot receive care.

        • Robert F says

          Texas is also one of the few places in the country where teenage pregnancy remains high, while throughout most of the rest of the US it’s lower than it’s been in forty years, and decreasing. Why? I’d bet that the Abstinence Only sex education, or no sex education at all, in 80% of TX school districts has lots to do with it. Something’s wrong when the laws a state passes achieve the opposite of the goal intended, very wrong.

    • Christiane says


      I think Texas has a VERY misogynistic culture of ‘male’ superiority. And the suffering this has wrought on women and children is unspeakable.

  12. Dana Ames says

    Machine repair or folding clothes?

    My daughter’s best friend in Army Basic Training is a mother and also an Apache helicopter mechanic. She does both.

    Give me a break.


  13. “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” “Comey was quoting a well-known saying from Henry II. Back in 1170, the king of England was years into a quarrel with Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, over the rights of the church. Henry II is often quoted as saying, “Will no one rid of me of this turbulent priest?” His men interpreted this as the king wanting Becket dead. Soon after, Becket was assassinated.”

    Yup and it was a great-great-great (many times over) uncle of mine who did the dirty deed. Reginald Fitz-Urse.

    The Fitz-Urses renamed the family after the dirty deed to Bereham (after the family seat). Urse means Bear and so they lived in Bear Hamlet. Bereham eventually became spelled Barham. There are not many Barham’s in the world, but all of them are directly related to Fitz-Urse. One of them was was my maternal grandfather.

    • That is so English, right down to the spelling changes. And so cool a story. Could’ve been from Shakespeare, or Tolkein, or Lewis.

  14. Michael Bell says

    Link for the above with my name spelled correctly:

    • On December 29, 1170 they burst into the cathedral choir at Canterbury clad in armour and carrying swords determined to capture or kill Becket. Fitzurse appeared to be their ringleader and delivered the first but non-fatal blow to Becket’s head and the other knights followed suit until Becket lay dead.[2] Christendom was outraged while the King publicly expressed remorse and engaged in public confession and penance.

      This could be a miniseries. Have you watched The Borgias?

      • Michael Bell says

        They made it into a play – “Murder in the Cathedral.” Quite famous.

        I have seen part of the Borgias. A little R rated for my tastes.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Especially when the knights barged in, Becket tried to defuse the situation; he was actually talking them down (using “drawn weapons in the sanctuary” as the lever) when one of the knights figured “what the hell?” and started swinging.

        The other knights had no choice but to join in, and Becket died of severe head wounds.

        Besides Becket, the big loser in this was King Henry (who was probably drunk when he made the infamous statement before the knights); Becket was a friend of his from way back, and though they were often butting heads after Becket’s appointment, Becket was the only one King Henry could trust. With his death, all King Henry had around him as advisers were Courtiers and Flatterers.

        Those words and their results also cost King Henry any hope of getting his way in the Church-vs-State fight that caused the falling out between the two.

  15. ” Why are evangelicals outliers on the subject of climate change?”

    Google “James Dobson climate change” for more on that. Lots of articles, some ten years old. This is pretty deep-rooted.

    • Patriciamc says

      I’ve never understood why this is a liberal vs. conservative issue. I think that maybe early on, certain prominent people took a stand on either side (like the self-confessed dog beater Dobson), and from there on, it became monkey see, monkey do. I had one friend, bless her heart, who didn’t believe in human-caused global warming because Pat Boone had said he didn’t believe it. SMH.

      • In many ways it all ties back to abortion and the Supremes. As the D’s became more and more pro abortion (err reproductive rights) and providing less and less support to a D running for office who wasn’t; the anti abortion (err pro life) people became more and more extreme (life (people?) begins at conception) and thus had to move to the R’s.

        Now it has morphed into many on each “side” believe the others are evil. So when either side seems to quickly embrace an issue the other side HAS to decry it as how could evil people have any worth while ideas or causes?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          And when Us Infinite Good and Them Infinite Evil, the logical conclusion is to Cleanse(TM) that Evil from the face of the Earth.

  16. Christiane says

    I never thought to see the story of Becket played out in full drama in the Congress of the US in the year 2017, but I did see, and the power of the old drama in Becket is just as strong and just as pertinent in our present time. We are witnessing a modern-day moral play, yes. And it will likely prove out to become as great a classic as ‘Becket’ in time as well. Concerning ‘will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest’, here is some dialogue from the sixties film ‘Becket’:

    Becket: ‘my Prince, I wish I could help you’

    The King: ‘What are you waiting for?’

    Becket: ‘For the honor of God and the honor of the King to become one’

  17. tall reeds,
    by a muddy creek —
    Eden’s exiles

  18. cheesehed says

    Chap. Mike,

    An honest question — which types of churches in Indiana are least likely to have bought into the Trump/God and Country meme? Maybe an urban/rural split?

    I have a cousin who lives between Indy and Cincy who’s lifelong UMC and she certainly doesn’t.

    Just curious. Thanks.

    • Patriciamc says

      I will bet it would be the more conservative, evangelical churches. They didn’t like Hillary, so they took Trump at his word and didn’t consider his background or that he might be manipulating them, and as his popularity took off, he became what I call God Don, the Great Savior of White Conservatism.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        And they follow, and marvel, saying “WHO IS LIKE UNTO THE TRUMP? WHO CAN STAND AGAINST HIM?”
        — filk of a verse in Revelation popular with End Time Prophecy types

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        And another filk:

        I BELIEVE IT

        Ever noticed that GOD’s Anointed Choice for Our Next President(TM) gets scuzzier and sketchier with each election cycle?

        Now that The Trump is the standard for Godly President, what’s the next “God’s POTUS” going to be like? More Godly/Trumpy than The Trump?

    • Patriciamc says

      Oops! Sorry, I misread your post and took as the most likely to have bought into Trump. I’d say the least likely are the mainline and maybe a good number of Catholics.

      • Robert F says

        Actually, nationwide the more Catholics voted for Trump than Clinton. This was because of his promise to appoint Supreme Court justices who might roll back abortion rights, the same reason many evangelicals voted for him.

    • Based on my experience the churches least likely to have bought into the Trump/God and Country meme will be the same churches that ordain women and are inclusive of LGBTQ+.

      ELCA (some)
      PCUSA (some relative to gay issue)
      United CofC

    • cheesehed: I have not had a lot of conversations about the subject with my fellow Hoosiers. But it is a very conservative state, and in many cases political conservatism is the real religion, whatever the denominational label. So I wouldn’t be surprised to find people in most denominations who either don’t think climate change is real, or don’t think about it much at all. Another factor is our heritage of manufacturing and the automobile industry, plus we have lots of people who moved here from Kentucky and other Appalachian states, so our necks tend to run pretty red.

  19. cheesehed says

    Thanks everyone! Very helpful.

    Tom AKA: what about the UMC? I assume they should be included in your list?

    I was in Indy recently and was impressed that no one honked at anyone else on their various roads.

    Southern hospitality, maybe?

    • cheesehed, yes, UMC should probably be included in my list. However, I didn’t include them because quite recently the UMC had a big meeting and did NOT come out in a positive way relative to LGBTQ being ordained.