December 2, 2020

The IM Saturday Brunch: October 21, 2017


”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.”

First Red (2017)

Thanks, Cubbies…

The Chicago Cubs lost the final game of the National League Championship Series Thursday night to the LA Dodgers, who overwhelmed them 11-1. The good guys were outmatched the whole series by the Dodgers’ shut-down pitching and clutch hitting. LA had a remarkable season, and were it not for a long losing streak at the end of the season, it might have been historic in terms of winning percentage. Congratulations to them. They await the outcome of the NY Yankees v. the Houston Astros series, the winner of which will face the Dodgers in this year’s World Series. It will be LA’s first trip to the Series since 1988.

Win or lose, I absolutely love October baseball…

Kike Hernandez, who three three homers, including a grand slam, to give LA the pennant.

One reason I love being Lutheran…

They do great things like brew special commemorative beers for celebrations like Reformation 500. This is Von Bora, a rich, tasty Dunkles Bock brewed in honor of the Reformer’s wife Katie (a craft brewer herself!) by Black Acre Brewing in Indianapolis. The even greater thing is that they’ve partnered with Lutheran Child and Family Services to do this, so we get to drink beer while kids and families receive some of the help they need.

• • •

One of my favorite recent photos…

Bettina Billups, right, helps Brentley Lashum, 2, touch Superman’s hand during superhero window washing day at Children’s of Alabama, as part of the hospital’s Superhero Month celebrations, on October 11, 2017, in Birmingham, Alabama. (Brynn Anderson/AP)

• • •

Apparently, Yoda has become a Christian and bought a farm near me…

• • •

Praying for our friends out west…

A view of hundreds of homes in the Coffey Park neighborhood that were destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on October 11, 2017, in Santa Rosa, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

• • •

As we commemorate Reformation 500, ya gotta love the Curmudgeon…

• • •

Truth is stranger than fiction…

Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame, spoke at the 2017 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. on October 13, 2017. His speech was, well, how can I describe it? — how ’bout a rather old-school mix of patriotism and billboard Christianity.

Robertson focused his remarks on dem Lib’rals.

“I’m almost tempted to ask the Democratic Party four little words: ‘Do y’all love Jesus? The reason I’m asking you, Democratic Party, is I’ve never heard you say one way or the other. Do you love Him? And I’m waiting on an answer.'”

The Duck Commander founder went on to ask mainstream media outlets CNN, CBS and MSNBC the same question.

“Do you folks love Jesus? Because I’ve never heard you say one way or another. Maybe, or do you hate Him? Do you love Him or do you hate Him? I’ll unashamedly say I love Him. I’ll tell anybody that. The final question I would like to ask everyone, including you — what’s wrong with Jesus? I’ve investigated Him. I’ve carefully inspected the Man. I can’t find anything wrong with Him.”

Then he promoted a new series he will be in, “In the Woods with Phil,” by saying,

What does a man do when they try to run him out of town for quoting a Bible verse? I tell you what he does, he goes deep in the woods,” Robertson is heard saying in a promotional video for the new series. “For far too long we have been told to shut up. No more. Here’s the deal, America. These are my woods. Out here, I call the shots. Out here, we reject political correctness, or as I like to say, ‘pontificated crap.'”

Ain’t that America?

• • •

Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum…

The pious and righteous entertainment establishment has been falling all over each other saying “REALLY? We had NO IDEA!” and trying to create distance between themselves and reputed sexual predator Harvey Weinstein. For example, Bethenny Frankel, star of that popular show about virtue and chastity, “The Real Housewives of New York City,” tweeted about Hollywood hypocrisy:

Harvey Weinstein himself, of course, responded to all of this with humility, contrition, and wisdom. According to one of Hollywood’s sacred books, People Magazine: “Weinstein said in a statement that he was working with therapists and planned to ‘deal with this issue head-on.’ He has also left Los Angeles and checked into a luxury resort in Arizona.”

In related news, Howard Stern also criticized Weinstein and others (who have gotten caught) from his pulpit of purity: “All these guys that do sexual harassment, I mean, they’re freaks,”

Ya can’t make this stuff up, folks.

• • •

Well, we simply can’t end on a note like that, can we?

So, I offer you this heartwarming story of people right on the front lines of caring and compassion. The Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County Washington has been offering free care to dying patients for the past 40 years.

In 1978 Rose Crumb, a Roman Catholic mother of 10, worked with others to start the hospice in the remote Pacific Northwest city of Port Angeles, Wash.

Today, the hospice relies on 10 paid staff, 160 volunteers and an annual budget of less than $400,000 to provide end-of-life care for 300 patients each year. They take no money from the government or private insurance, but are funded completely by community donations and the time given by volunteer workers.

In a nation where Medicare pays nearly $16 billion a year for hospice care, and nearly two-thirds of providers are for-profit businesses, the tiny volunteer hospice is an outlier.

Since 1978, the hospice founded by Crumb — a mother of 10 and devoted Catholic — has offered free end-of-life care to residents of Port Angeles and the surrounding area. She was the first in the region to care for dying AIDS patients in the early days of the epidemic. Her husband, “Red” Crumb, who died in 1984 of leukemia, was an early patient.

“He died the most perfect death,” Rose Crumb told visitors on a recent afternoon. “He spent time alone with each of our kids. That meant so much to him.”

But it’s not just about dying. As I tell my patients and families all the time, Rose Crumb’s approach is “Hospice is about how to live each and every day.” We’re all going to face a final season of life. May God provide us all people like Rose to care for us in those days.


  1. We were glad for the rain that came last night though it is suppose to be dry and warm again next week. I’m in the SF Bay area though some distance from the fires, but, the smoke and ash was everywhere last week. A great deal of thanks is owed to the firefighters from the local professionals, to the professionals who came from other states with their equipment, and to the several thousand state prisoners including a few hundred women who volunteer to work on the containment lines all over the state (they get $1/hour while actually on the line).

    • + a million

      The firefighters did a tremendous job, both the local crews and those who came to help as soon as they could muster.

      The fires were almost contained before it began raining Thursday night. The nearly continuous overnight rain quenched things pretty well. Crews will continue to check for hot spots, but the fires are pretty well out. As far as I know, all evacuees are being allowed back to their property.

      The very tight housing situation in Santa Rosa (rental availability rate at 1% before the fires, 2-year waiting list for Section 8 housing) is now going to be even worse. Housing prices in the greater SF Bay area, including SR, are ridiculously unaffordable, and only slightly better in more rural areas. IMNSHO, it comes down to greed. And I am complicit, because husband and I want to get the most money we can when we sell ours… It’s a very callous economy.


  2. CM, I think it’s spelled “Dunkel”…

  3. Who is the lady playing violin in the J Mellencamp video?

  4. Is “y’all” one word or two?

    (a more serious question than you think: Dutch people will tell you that in Dutch “ij” is one letter, not two)

  5. That Other Jean says

    “Ain’t that America?”

    No. No, it’s not. That’s faux-redneck college-educated businessman Phil Robertson, pretending to be an ardent, if somewhat silly, one-note Christian Conservative backwoodsman. Maybe the Conservative part is true. The rest is shtick, because it sells.

    • The rest is shtick, because it sells.

      “Ain’t that America?”

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        It is either 51% America, or 49% America, depending on the day.
        We are currently in a Wednesday of a 51% week.

        America and “shtick” are concomitant memes. Everywhere has shticks, but America really really likes its shticks; or … there are a lot of very aggressive Americans who really likes shticks – and America has a very weird ambivalence towards aggressive people. Very ‘nice’ considerate people are also unsettlingly tolerant of naked aggression, eager to explain it away. That is the part of America that most creeps me out and keeps me awake at night. If just a few people would stand up and tell the angry shouty guy at the back of the room to sit down and behave – problem solved – but instead people squirm, look at their shoes, or pull out their phones [America really isn’t “manly” or confrontational at all].

        • Many Americans aren’t confrontational because they are afraid they may get shot by their gun-toting countrymen.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says


            I believe the wussiness runs deeper than that; akin to the very wide-spread fear of public speaking. Perhaps correlated to self-esteem, an inconfidence that you have something worthwhile to say, or less right to the floor.

            • No doubt, but I’m sure much American reticence to speak is compensated for out of the barrels of guns, which speak in their own way, and boost the feeling of a kind of self-esteem (meretricious as it is) in the shooter.

        • Shtick sells because a very wide swath of Sentimentality exists inside us Modern Americans, for philosophical and cultural reasons. “Isn’t that cuuuute!!!” is our mantra…. and it comes out of the mouth of all but the most curmudgeonly of us.


  6. Burro [Mule] says

    “Mother” Johnson was a middle-aged African-American woman in Pensacola, Florida who, despite taking care of 4 children and 2 grand-children herself, started taking in homeless people. She fed them and clothed them and let them bunk down wherever she could find a place for them. She had two rules; no drinking and no ‘shenanigans’, meaning no sex. It wasn’t long before scores of homeless men and women were bunking down with “Mother” Johnson. Pushed to the limit of her own resources, she started making rounds of the local churches.

    Pensacola is where Southern deep-fried Evangelicalism meets Cajun coon-ass Catholicism. There are a lot of churches. To their credit, they helped. It wasn’t long before “Mother” Johnson had a bunkhouse that could house twenty, and her grill was smoking constantly with donated food.

    But “Mother” Johnson was overwhelmed by success. Despite the help of clergy and laity from the various churches, the number of homeless exploded, and “Mother” Johnson was not able to enforce her two simple rules. The homeless folk drank, coupled openly, left their garbage on the neighbors’ lawns, and urinated in the streets in broad daylight. “Mother ” Johnson’s neighbors, as black and as poor as she was, complained to the city council. To their credit, they listened. “Mother” Johnson’s impromptu homeless shelter was shut down for numerous zoning violations.

    It caused something of a minor controversy in the town. At the city council meeting, where the closure of her shelter was made official, “Mother” Johnson, backed by several clergymen and the heads of local charities, rose to her feet and asked a simple question:

    “Do y’all love Jesus? I mean, do y’all love Him even just a little bit?” She went on to give quite an impassioned sermon and the city council, Baptist, Pentecostal, Church of Christ, and Catholic all, heard her out.

    I was reminded of “Mother” Johnson when you wrote about Phil Robertson. I think it’s a good question. Phil should ask it of everybody, not just the Democrats, media figures, and ‘lib’ruls’. It’s not an easy one to answer.

    • Maybe Phil should start with asking it of himself? I wonder if he has. If he were to start with that, and try to work it out before asking the question of others, it seems to me it would take a lifetime to answer, and he would never actually get around to asking others that theologically virtue-signalling question, which can be translated to: “Do y’all love Jesus, like I do?”.

    • But it is pretty apparent that Phil, unlike “Mother” Johnson, is using that question as a culture-war bludgeon, or perhaps shotgun. Same question, with significantly different meaning as a result of different contexts. His own words say that in his woods, Phil “calls the shots”, the implication being that, if you don’t like it, get out of his woods and leave him alone; the threat is right there at the surface. No such threat in “Mother” Johnson’s asking of the question; she is merely trying to defend her servant’s vision of what it means to follow Jesus. It’s still not a fair question to ask others, but in “Mother” Johnson’s case, she paid a hefty enough personal price in service to others to justify taking it seriously; in Phil’s case, there is no evidence that he has paid any such price, and so his question cannot be taken seriously.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > It’s still not a fair question to ask others,

        Agree; as sympathetic as I am to “Mother” Johnson’s cause and meaning – – – it is not a going to be a productive way to approach the situation/dialogue.

        There can be *honest* *serious* questions about something like this. Asking people if they “love Jesus” can sound a lot like “shut up, you are less righteous” [not saying she meant that, but what is *heard* is what matters].

        Now – could be it was spoken just at the end, out of frustration, a last appeal. In which case – totally OK by me! Go Mother Jones!

        I’ve seen conversations that *start* with righteousness terms, well intended or not, they tend to be very short conversations. You will get further with Curmudgeons, NIMBYs, and BANANAs by at least pretending you care about their concerns [and as you listen you might, maybe sometimes, think: huh, that is a good point].
        It appears to be very difficult for some people to *not* speak in righteousness terms.

        > in Phil’s case, …

        The dude is a salesman, an icky one.

      • I get Phil. I grew up in Churches of Christ full of men (and women) with the same outspoken, confrontational manner. Us CofC’er were just about the only people willing to take on the JW’s and Mormons–we could and did go toe to toe with them debatin’ the Bibble. Didn’t like RC’s either. Matter of fact, we didn’t like anyone but us…

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Churches operating half-way houses is a thing here. They buy the big older houses where you can easily put 6-8 people – staying under the more-than-X-number-of-last-names zoning provisions.

      That can get angsty but if they buy an older/abandoned commercial building to operate a clinic or something – BOY HOWDY does it get nasty. Every stripe comes out. And we now have a “conservative” guy [and I apologize to all Conservatives] who has organized an gnarly little group – and they MAKE UP WHOLE CLOTH LIES that some NPO or church bought a building to do X, they organize meetings, distribute literate, get people all whipped up [when, just check the public record… no purchase]. There isn’t any “love” of anything involved, Jesus or otherwise; it is straight-up meanness.

      Aside, there is one of these Church half-way houses on my block – guys come and go. It is a good spot for it, huge house, next to a little store, and a transit stop. There has never been a problem. The guys who come and go range from quiet to friendly. It went in stealthily; and my neighborhood is an extremely live-and-let-live just-ignore-dumb-rules kind of place – and it was before Mr. Grumpy Pants really got his group rolling.

    • flatrocker says

      Separate the message from the messenger. It’s a good question.
      No separation and this just feels like tossing some red meat to the predictable commenters.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says


      • Plus 25

      • The question really is, “Do y’all love Jesus, like I do?” As such, I don’t think it is a good question to ask others, generally speaking, and should be avoided. It is a good question to ask oneself.

      • I think if you ask, “Do you love Jesus” to many people, they’ll look at you like, “What’s that got to do with anything?” Christian that I am, in many circumstances, I’d have the same reaction.

        • flatrocker says

          Maybe this is where our modern challenge of “speaking in tongues” resides. Nothing against our Pentecostal brethren, but wasn’t the fundamental purpose of the story in Acts to communicate? The “speaking” they describe is profoundly connective. We seem to have lost sight of that powerful goal in our modern charismatic fervor.

          How about a short modernization of Acts 2:7-11… “They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking from i-monk? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Millenials, Gen-Xers, Burned-out Baby Boomers, Nones and Dones, and residents of South Chicago and Rural Alabama. The 1% percenters and the Opiate addicts. Immigrants, skeptics and those of other faiths. We hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

          Now that’s a “speaking in tongues” I could get excited about. I think we lost our way in understanding what it means to speak to your audience in a way that resonates – not with you, but with them.

  7. I can’t say that I love Jesus
    that would be a hollow claim.
    He did make some observations
    and I’m quoting them today.
    “Judge not lest ye be judged.”
    what a beautiful refrain.
    The studio audience disagrees…

    – REM, New Test Leper

  8. We love him because he first loved us. (That is, loving Jesus doesn’t earn you any brownie points or special consideration. All the initiative was on his part. Ours is merely a response to what he already accomplished on our behalf.)

    For scarcely for a righteous person would someone die, and perhaps for a good person one would even dare to die, but God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

    Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the “payment in full” for our sins.

    Just when I suspect I am no longer an evangelical, verses like these pop into my head.

  9. Overall, I do like Duck Dynasty, but Phil Robertson would be much more effective if he didn’t put down everyone he disagrees with.

    Also, I’m not in Hollywood and am just a casual reader of blind item gossip colums (where the people can’t be named for legal reasons), and even I knew about Harvey Weinstein (and his brother, and Bryan Singer, etc.). More dominoes will rightly fall.

    • I suspect Duck Dynasty might not have been as popular if he hadn’t been as over-the-top and confrontational. The target audience looooves that…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I suspect Duck Dynasty might not have been as popular if he hadn’t been as over-the-top and confrontational. The target audience looooves that…

        Just look at last year’s Presidential campaign.

        Same target audience, down to the Amen Chorus of Evangelicals.

  10. Oops. Columns.

  11. Regarding Weinstein: he truly is the tip of the iceberg.

    You can’t swing a dead cat around this town without hitting an exploiter or someone who’s been exploited in the name of ‘entertainment’. Everyone knows what’s going on, but they all want their share of the money and power, so they stay quiet. In the past, anyone who tried to blow the whistle was blacklisted and silenced. If the whole truth about Hollyweird is ever exposed, it will make the RCC and other abuse scandals look tame by comparison.

    I’ve been asked many times why I never let my kids take a shot at acting to earn some college money. THIS is why.

    • Burro [Mule] says

      This mindset is seeping into Georgia like a leak in a sewer line seeps into the water table.

      Oh, it’ll blue Georgia, eventually. All the set designers, camera handlers, makeup artists, etc settling in Decatur and Peoplestown will tip ol’ Cracker Georgia off the balance and make Georgia as predictably blue as Brookline or Palo Alto.

      I’m sure there’ll be plenty who’ll be glad of that.

      • Patriciamc says

        The entitlement mentality that allows people to molest others isn’t a political issue. There are plenty of conservative molesters out there, frequently in churches.

        • Yeah. People love to claim that abuse is inherent in The Other Guy’s System (Not Mine!) – but truth to tell, it’s inherent all over. Anywhere where power and hierarchy are the norm…

        • Nor is it a uniquely American thing – we saw this in the UK with a guy called Jimmy Saville.

    • It’s not a Blue/Red thing, or a Pagan/Christian thing, or an American/non-American thing. It comes from the core of a person’s character and how they view other human beings in relation to themselves.

      There are narcissists, sycophants, enablers, and victims everywhere. The fact that L.A./Hollywood has such a high concentration of them and that the biggest abusers hold multi-million dollar campaign fundraisers claiming they’re for women’s and children’s rights … is beyond twisted.

      • Patriciamc says

        Yes, very hypocritical.

      • The trick here, re: scapegoating – or at least, a derivative of the concept – is not that Harvey Weinstein is an innocent person wrongly accused (to be clear, surely he is *not*, under the overwhelming stream of accounts).

        It’s that he is Hollywood’s proxy for Trump.

        Weinstein is both Hollywood’s (poorly addressed, too-late-too-little) saving-face action and their exemplary of what they (the powers that be; Hollywood is infinitely connected to a myriad of things across the planet) would like to – but clearly cannot – do with pussy-grabbing Trump.

        From my Canadian friend Tom VanGaalen

  12. the composer says
    people who dislike his work
    call it ….interesting