December 2, 2020

The Saturday Monks Brunch: February 10, 2018



Last week we had an iMonk public service announcement about the flu and how to prevent getting it and passing it on. Sorry, but now we’ve learned that wasn’t necessary.


BLOOMBERG: On Tuesday, SpaceX (Elon Musk, proprietor) blasted a 230-foot rocket into orbit, returned its two side boosters to Earth for a flawlessly synchronized landing, and propelled Musk’s own Tesla Roadster toward deep space, where it’s expected to orbit the sun for hundreds of millions of years.

Here are some great pictures of the event. You can see more at SpaceX’s Media Gallery and at their Flickr page.

You can read HERE about three more upcoming SpaceX launches planned for 2018.

Oh wait, but if you believe the FLAT EARTH SOCIETY, the whole thing was a hoax.


Last evening the Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics were broadcast here in the U.S. The Olympic cauldron was lit by Yuna Kim, South Korean Olympic champion figure skater.

Lots of political intrigue with these games, given the way North Korea has been in the news this year with nuclear threats and tests. The Washington Post has an article about the political theater being played out in Peongyang.

Here is a fascinating article tracing the history of the games and examining their religious significance by Kimberly Winston at RNS, called “God and the Games.”


NPR: Robert Meilhammer, 51, of Crapo, Md., was struck in the head Thursday by a dead Canada goose that plunged from the sky after a fellow waterfowl hunter fired a blind shot on a flock overhead. Meilhammer was in the midst of a hunting party with three friends in Easton, Md.

The goose fell about 90 feet, knocking the hunter out instantly and causing head and facial injuries. When Meilhammer came to, he was coherent but “hazy,” according to the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Natural Resources police officers and EMS responders transported Meilhammer via ambulance to the Easton Airport, where he was airlifted to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Talbot County EMS responders called his head injury “severe.” The dead bird also knocked out two of Meilhammer’s teeth.


Statement From Paul Simon

I’ve often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I’d consider bringing my performing career to a natural end. Now I know: it feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating, and something of a relief.

I love making music, my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight, extraordinary group of gifted musicians. I think about music constantly. Sadly, we lost our lead guitarist and my friend of 30 years, Vincent N’guini, who died last December. His loss is not the only reason I’ve decided to stop touring, but it is a contributing factor. Mostly, though, I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing. I’d like to leave with a big Thank You to the many folks around the world who’ve come out to watch me play over the last 50 years.

After this coming tour, I anticipate doing the occasional performance in a (hopefully) acoustically pristine hall, and to donate those earnings to various philanthropic organizations, particularly those whose objective is to save the planet, ecologically.

Once again, I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in my music that touched their hearts.

— Paul Simon


This year, Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season, is on February 14. This puts it oddly in conjunction with Valentine’s Day.

Oh, and one other day of love and celebration, known by the greatest 5 words in English language…

First pitchers and catchers workout.

Spring training returns, and we are saved.


  1. People who tell people that they don’t need medicine, only faith, should go to the Special Level of Hell.

    • …and they can be seated next to those who say we need only medicine and no faith.

    • Many of those people are not Christians, you know. I know several people at work who preach the metaphysical idea that you create your own reality, and so sickness is a kind of illusion that is produced by negative thoughts and spiritual energy. They practice reiki on each other at break time, and one is a licensed reiki practitioner who gets paid for performing reiki sessions in her home.

      • If you create your own reality… explain the IRS. 😛

        • It’s an illusion.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says

          Or… you’re great vision of life is to commute 45 minutes on an expressway, each way, to sit in a drab cubicle farm for 8 hours a day reviewing documents you don’t care about? The daily highlight of that day is standing next to the coffee pot complaining about traffic?

          That is even darker than believing those things is their “real” life.

          • Yeah, it can be a survival mechanism to believe incredible things….up to a point. For instance: the reiki practitioner’s tween daughter was sick with flu a few years ago, and she waited for weeks to take the girl to see a physician on the grounds that metaphysical healing was adequate, and one shouldn’t surrender to the negativity by seeing a medical doctor. She finally relented when her daughter only got worse and worse; fortunately, the girl survived, though she might not have. In such cases, and they are far more frequent than we like to imagine, incredible beliefs are not conducive to survival.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says

              > to the negativity by seeing a medical doctor

              Which is a strange notion in itself.

              I have health insurance. Hooray! I very readily go to the doctor – it is awesome!

              Feeling somehow that having the vast powers of 21st century medical science at one’s disposal is “negative”… huh.

              • It is the belief that one is ill that is considered negative, and recourse to medical science is considered a reinforcement of this negativity.

                • That mindset, more easily than one would expect, can take root in highly educated people.

                  • Yes. Institutionalized religion may not do well with them, but a spirituality which tells them that they are the master of their own fate, writ large on a metaphysical scale, matches their own sense having mastery in the professional and economic worlds. Humans are incorrigibly religious, and affluent, achieving modern people will find religious belief which coordinates with their experienced state in life, and amplify it.

          • That Other Jean says

            Wait: I have created the reality that I have something that isn’t quite the flu, but means that I’ve spent most of the last week in bed, coughing my lungs out and feeling miserable, dragging myself up to feed the housecritters and give medicine to the elderly dog and cat on the correct schedule and let the dogs out on demand? This reality sucks! I want a beach, and a cabin on the ocean with a big front porch and sea breezes and warm sun. Where’s that?

  2. The Flat Earth Society is looking forward to celebrating Flat Tuesday!

  3. The God and the Games linked article mentions a nineteenth century concept called Muscular Christianity — now that’s an idea with an ominous name that I’m sure we can do without.

    • This is what comes to mind when I hear the phrase “Muscular Christianity”:

    • I’ve always heard “muscular Christianity” used for preachers like Mark Driscoll who equate maleness with Godliness and go on just a little too much about the male form (cage fighting, wrestling, etc.) and how Jesus could win in a fist fight. They’ve been called out by other theologians as being homo erotic.

  4. The tandem controlled landing of those two booster rockets is an amazing sight. I’ve watched the video of it several times, and it put me in a state of wonder each time.

    • That Other Jean says

      That was amazing, but bittersweet. The U.S. had such a fantastic space program, once. Why did the government cut back so much? Have we done anything better with the money we didn’t spend exploring space? I don’t think so.

      • I totally agree. The money spent on NASA has reaped far more awards than most people realize. I’d love to see a re-emphasis on NASA so we don’t lose our place technologically.

  5. A well known radio host in the south said this week “How could flat earthers deny all the scientific evidence”. This same host doesn’t believe in climate change.

  6. John Perry Barlow died this week. R.I.P.

    Goin’ home, goin’ home,
    by the riverside i will rest my bones,
    Listen to the river sing sweet songs,
    to rock my soul.

  7. pancakes for supper —
    not just for Shrove Tuesday

  8. Flat Earthers? Who could have ever guessed that our fundamental faculty of reason and simple, straightforward logic could be so easily veiled? Turns out it can be utterly shrouded in darkness as our current state of affairs attests. Fox News – Fair and Balanced. How about, “Partial and Leaning Completely to One Side”. In an infantile desire to absolve ourselves of responsibility we are happy to shut our eyes and be led by the snout and it ain’t just on the right, that’s just the glaring and obvious example at the moment.

    • Same as it ever was.

    • Along with the new Fox News slogan, we ought to try these on as well…

      Instead of “CNN – The Most Trusted Name in News”,
      How about “CNN – The Most Trusted Hyperventilation in News.”
      Instead of “MSNBC – Lean Forward”,
      How about “MSNBC – Tripping All Over Ourselves”
      Instead of “New York Times – All the News Worth Printing”,
      how about “New York Times – All the News worthy of Subterfuge,”
      or maybe “New York Times – We use fancy words to justify our price premium.”

      Hey this is fun. Got any others?

      • MSNBC – Dain’t Nothin’ We Caint Tilt?

        • I’m enjoying the Battle of the Dueling Memos, as reported by the different partisan media.

        • CNN – Pretty Much Trusted to Say the Opposite of Fox

          • ABC ,NBC, CBS – Remember when we mattered?

            • Funny!

            • I do miss Dan Rather, he just reported the news as he saw it. Dan Rather put the BS in CBS and even got a movie out of it.
              If lying makes you newsworthy my cousin Rusty is solid gold as an investment.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                “This one has 650 milligrams…”
                “This one has 650 milligrams…”
                “This one has 10,000 miiligrams —
                take one and never feel pain again!”
                “I’m watching Dan Rather and I don’t feel any pain!”
                — “Commercials on 45” ( novelty song)

                • I rely on the reporting of Brian Williiams reporting for N B Seeing you. When Brian Williams tells you something happened it did unless of course it did not but why fire a reporter that has a problem with the truth?
                  Of course I became suspicious when he reported he had found Zorro’s secret cave.
                  He does not know why he lied about the things he did and I do not know why people watch him give the news.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says

            Wait?!!? I’m confused. CNN said something? What I’ve seen of CNN has mostly been babbling tabloid.

            • Occasionally the personalities on CNN say something, and even do a little investigative journalism, when they’re not posing for network commercials.

            • That’s HLN (which used to be 24/7 headline news, and is now 24/7 Today show)

            • I remember back when CNN was 100% pro-Obama 100% of the time. Now, it’s Fox as 100% pro-Trump 100% of the time, but we do live in a time when good is now bad and bad is now good, up is now down, etc. I used to watch Fox and read the Fox site, but when it became obvious that Murdoch had lived up to his reputation and was taking money to be pro-Trump 24/7, I switched over to CNN, among others like The Atlantic, Reuters, etc. You know it’s bad when I actually agree with George Clooney. He once said that back in the day when we had just 3 news sources, we all got our news from the same source, and even when we disagreed, we were still on the same page. Now, it’s just people yelling past each other and referencing totally different things.

      • Fox News – Fair and balanced

        Oh wait…

        • They finally took that slogan off about the time when Rupert Murdoch admitted in an interview that he talks with Trump several times a week (gets his marching orders).

      • BBC – all you Yanks have lost your bloody minds

      • Fox News – Who says you can’t make this shit up? Just watch.

        • I figured out a long time ago that OUTRAGE sells, so the more the better. Also, on the website, throw in at least once a week a story of a female teacher having sex with a minor, plus there must be boobs somewhere at all times.

    • The idea of objectivity has become an antiquated concept in our postmodern world. Truth is thought to reside with whoever can shout the loudest and longest, whoever can make their narrative dominate by force of will or wile. The media are incredibly helpful organs in such a contest of strength. Nietzsche was indeed a prophet when he cautioned that we should be particularly wary of those who most stridently claim that truth is on their side, or that the other side is entirely fake; they are usually hiding something behind their loud declamations.

      • Robert I realize you’re being ironical but objectivity is antiquated right up to the point where you step out of the 12th story window or the doctor tells you about that spot on your lungs. In our modern technological society where in this country at any rate we’ve mostly provided for most people’s minimum survival needs, we have the luxury to deceive ourselves.

        • Agreed. There is an objective reality; but it’s also objectively true that it’s hard for people to get outside their own perspectivism to accurately discover and describe it, especially when they are motivated by wanting to hide things from others, or from themselves, or both. And even before modern society, this dynamic was in pervasive operation among humankind. Most especially, the powerful wielded it against the poor, and each other.

          • It’s first use among humankind was not as a luxury, but a weapon.

            • That Other Jean says

              It still is

            • Robert – It’s “peoplekind” for gosh sakes!
              You’ll never make it as prime minister of Canada.

              • A language can only be stretched so far before it snaps. Trudeau found one of English’s snapping points, and he plunged right at it. Enough people do that, and a new language will develop within the lifeless husk of English to take its place.

                • So what you’re saying is if three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
                  singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and Walking out. And friends they may think it’s a movement.

  9. I wish more people would take a gander at the article about the goose that hit the hunter in the head giving him more than a goose egg. Someone did yell duck but it just added to the confusion before the goose hit the fan of hunting. As a child I played duck, duck, goose preparing myself for just such an event.

    Someone should have warned the brave hunter to take a gander toward the sky but it was too late. What is good for the goose is also good for the Gander Mountain equipped hunter. If only they had time to get the flock out of there the geese would have been fine. A warning was given by the head goose maybe the Mother Goose but being they were French Canadian geese it had to be given first in French then English . Perhaps the other gooses were quacking up when the shooting started.
    Geese begin their terror reign with their goose stepping marches in very militaristic parades and then dominate the skies like it is the natural order. They do not respect national borders and now an innocent hunter defending his right to shoot up in the sky has been injured. this is a fowl happening and now there will be a cry for hunters to wear helmets and mouth guards and establish a concussion protocol . Do not take this event lightly, this hunter was attacked, no he was severely goosed.

    • The hunter has become the hunted. The pâté’s over buddy. Don’t foie gras to keep one eye over your shoulder. Latest news out of England is pigs on the wing as well. Geese. Pigs. What’s next damnit?

    • That Other Jean says

      I hope the poor man will recover fully, but I can’t resist: “Revenge of the Birds!”

  10. Gloria Copeland’s flu ‘vaccine’ reminds me of Granny Clampett’s cold remedy: If you take it your cold only lasts 14 days; if you don’t it’ll last about two weeks.

  11. For a few moments
    I hush the tumult inside
    and begin to pray

  12. Remember the old saying – as long as you’re ice skating you’re not shooting.

  13. Both Florida and Arizona have filed injunctions at the State court level to halt Spring Training until a mediation of more equitable revenue sharing (tax on MLB) is arrived at, Until such mediation takes place there will be no spring baseball.

  14. Fat Tuesday —
    fastnachts and coffee with cream
    before the desert

  15. senecagriggs says

    Dec 22, 2015: One Canadian goose killed by an errant drive off the 13th tee. It was a dead on head shot. I verbally warned the little gaggle before I let loose on my Titleist Pro-V with my Callaway X Series Driver – 9.5 loft. Unluckily, for them, they didn’t listen. I blame them. I’m no Phil Mickler.

    The “cooked” goose, had a 15 second epileptic seizure then all was quiet. The gaggle carried on for another 5 minutes but then they left [ minus 1 ] for a safer clime.

    I call it goose karma

    [ YES, I really killed a Canadian Goose with an errant drive off the 13th tee. They are the bane of golf courses throughout the North American Hemisphere. I lied about the Titleist Pro-V. When you’re as bad a golfer as I am, you can’t afford to be losing golf balls at $5 a pop. ]

    • senecagriggs , I believe the goose egged you on, knowing you wanted to avoid a goose egg on your score. You can waddle in your grief at getting a goose in one or you can accept the fact that you now have a feather actually several in your cap with a great story.
      The goose stuck his neck out when he landed where you were playing. Perhaps the goose was attempting a swan dive trying to save the others from your second shot, we will never know or perhaps care. I I told my wife your story and it made her think of being down.
      It must have been some great morning as the other geese did fly away——————– perhaps not to glory but to Florida like a lot of other snow birds. You should have warned them with a l avant but probably did not know they were from the Quebec area.

      • senecagriggs says

        I like “a goose in one.”

        AND, the goose’s interference turned a 150 carry into a 10 yard carry. Dang the Luck. Sigh, that’s golf; there’s always something messing up your score.

  16. Randy Thompson says

    I have a suggestion for watching future Olympic Opening Ceremonies.

    1. Save it to DVR.
    2. Watch the ceremonies.
    3. Triple fast forward during the grand entrance of all the athletes.
    4. Continue watching the ceremonies.
    5. See the whole thing in half the time, and not have to listen to the announcers killing time as the athletes interminably march in.

    And yes, it was cool that South and North Korea marched in together. That’s worth watching in real time.

    • Agree. The march in is great for particular interested parties. The rest is good for the rest of us. The unified Korea was full of hope.

      • Showmanship. North Korea, as currently governed, will never peacefully reunify.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Reunification in Pyongyang means Invading, Depopulating, and Pillaging the South.
          With nukes if necessary (or because Comrade Leader can).
          “I. WIN.”

        • Didn’t you get a load of the sneer Kim What’s His Face’s little sister did during the whole ceremony? I wanted to tell her that her face was going to freeze like that, but maybe it already has.

  17. You saw the Tongan?

    But before you profess to be impressed, you should see the Tongans playing Rugby League, the Muscular Christians’ version of your American “football”…