December 4, 2020

Saturday Ramblings, April 30th, 2016

Hello friends. We are letting the good Chaplain have a Saturday off this week (he’s traveling to Texas to see if Joel Osteen will give a blurb for his book). So you are stuck with me. Ready to Ramble?

1955 Rambler with Swamp Cooler

1955 Rambler with Swamp Cooler*

Speaking of our good friend Joel, did you know that Morgan Freeman recently popped in to interview him?  Freeman, you see, is hosting a six-part TV special for the National Geographic channel titled, “The Story of God”. In this role, he visited  Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, Cairo’s mosques, Guatemala’s Mayan temples, India’s Bodhi Tree, Neolithic Turkish settlements, the Vatican . . . and . . . [wait for it] . . .Osteen’s Lakewood Church. No, I am not making this up. Yes, I really wish I was.

"One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong"

“One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong”

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert last week signed a resolution that declared pornography a public health crisis, and calls for education and policy changes to stop porn exposure and addiction. The rationale? Porn leads to “hypersexualization of teens, prostitution and cheating spouses, among other problems.” The bills sponsor also stated that pornography use is “linked to lessening desire in young men to marry, dissatisfaction in marriage, and infidelity” and that it “perpetuates a sexually toxic environment.”

Rival construction companies in North China got into a tiff, as, I suppose, rival construction companies sometimes do. How did they settle it? With a full-on demolition derby using heavy equipment on a busy street, of course. How else?

Self-serving alarmists? Or just plain crazy? You decide:

Prince wasn’t the only entertainer to die last week. We also had to say goodbye to Peter S. Ruckman. Don’t know him? Pete was the driving force for the King James Only movement that has taken over thousands of Baptist churches. He believed the KJV was “advanced revelation” and totally without error. He even claimed that if you found a passage where the KJV translated the Greek incorrectly, you should discard the Greek and follow the King James, for it “corrected the Greek”.

Jack Chick was a big fan, natch

Jack Chick was a big fan, natch

The British Government will soon be launching a new, 300 million dollar polar research ship. Someone in her majesty’s service had a great idea: have an online poll to name the ship. Surely this might drum up some interest and goodwill. And yes, one name stood out, gathering three times more votes than the next runner-up: Boaty Mcboatface. 


“Big Metal Floaty Thing” and “Ice, Ice Boaty” were already taken

Science Minister Jo Johnson was not amused. “The new royal research ship will be sailing into the world’s iciest waters to address global challenges that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, including global warming, the melting of polar ice, and rising sea levels. That’s why we want a name that lasts longer than a social-media news cycle and reflects the serious nature of the science it will be doing.” He then announced his plans to steal Christmas.

At this point its not clear whether the government will bow to the will of the people or not. But that hasn’t stopped the internet from taking the Boaty McBoatface (you know, the more I say it the happier I get) idea and turning it into a meme, renaming animals by their most obvious characteristics:16-better-animal-names01-better-animal-names10-better-animal-names29-better-animal-names

1dD1QLc08-better-animal-names07-better-animal-names 69f8aae2f0564bad11756ad8e520ee4d CfICvUeUAAE6H7X CgibKs2W0AAtTmM TNUbuz9-1 zq0og0t zRPnpbh

It’s really too bad the Austin (Texas) School district didn’t learn the lesson from Boaty Mcboatface when they decided to use an online poll, in this case to rename their Robert E. Lee Elementary School:


This is why we can’t have nice things

Cringe-worthy video of the week (Chaplain Mike will give you 20 bucks if you watch the whole thing):

Did you know that May 7 is World Naked Gardening Day? I’m sure Hallmark has cards for it.  I was thinking about taking part, but I don’t want the willows to weep any more than they already do. But you can. If you don’t have a garden just use the neighbor’s. But stay away from the rose bushes.

May 7 is also World Tick Check Evening.

On Thursday former speaker of the house called Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh”, (which may be giving him too much credit). He also said he would vote for Trump, whom he described as a “texting buddy”. And apparently a “tanning buddy”. Cuz, it aint easy being orange.

"Trumpkins of the world, Unite! All you have to lose are your brains."

“Trumpkins of the world, Unite! All you have to lose are your brains.”

Ted Cruz, for his part, officially denied being Lucifer in the flesh, which, when that is the subject of your press conference, you know it’s going to be a bad day.

The Federalist is as staunchly conservative as a website can get. Yet at least two of their main writers would vote for Hillary over Donald. One writer explains the Hamilton Rule

“If we must have an enemy at the head of government,” Hamilton said in exasperation [during the election of 1800], “let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible.”

In other words: Better to lose to a true enemy whose policies you can fight and repudiate, rather than to a false friend whose schemes will drag you down with him. This is a painful choice, but it also embraces realism while protecting the possibility of recovery in the future…

More to the point, after four years of thrashing around in the Oval Office like the ignorant boor he is, voters will no longer be able distinguish between the words “Trump,” “Republican,” “conservative,” and “buffoon.” He will obliterate Republicans further down the ticket in 2016 and 2020, smear conservatism as nothing more than his own brand of narcissism, and destroy decades of hard work, including Ronald Reagan’s legacy.

Your thoughts?

Wanna watch a video of Bono and Eugene Peterson discuss the Psalms and modern Christian music? Of course you do:

Peterson talked about the honesty of the Psalms, and Bono agreed that honesty was hard to find in modern Christian culture. In fact, he said that he found “a lot of dishonesty” in modern Christian art.

“I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are writing these beautiful… gospel songs, write a song about their bad marriage. Write a song about how they’re pissed off at the government. Because that’s what God wants from you, the truth,” Bono said. “And that truthfulness …. will blow things apart.”

Google is reportedly about to team up with Fiat Chrysler to produce a line of self-driving cars, the next step to a driver-less future. I like Google, but do get a little worried about them controlling everything, ya know?download (1)

A Buddhist temple near Beijing is trying something new: A robot monk. It can chant Buddhist mantras, move via voice command, and hold a simple conversation. Named Xian’er, the 60-cm (2-foot) tall robot resembles a cartoon-like novice monk in yellow robes with a shaven head, holding a touch screen on his chest. Xian’er can hold a conversation by answering about 20 simple questions about Buddhism and daily life, listed on his screen, and perform seven types of motions on his wheels.

Tell me your church attendance wouldn't go up if they had one of these made to look like your pastor.

Tell me your church attendance wouldn’t go up if they had one of these made to look like your pastor.


Well, that’ it for this weekend, friends. I’m leaving you with one of the all-time classic music videos of all eternity: R.I.O.T by Carman (1995). Enjoy!

*The custom Nash swamp cooler was a poor-man’s air conditioner unit that mounted on the window. Put ice in the canister, pull the ripcord, and start driving and as the fan turns and warm air comes in through the intake and passes over ice, it would then cool the car.


  1. I have a little psalter with an introduction by Bono. It’s pretty cool.

  2. At the end of the dozer fight did anyone else get a caption advertising that the next video I should watch was something like “Amazing sex toys at the China Sex Expo”?

  3. Orange you glad that Boehner and Trump have found common ground? I know it brightens up my day.

  4. Xian’er is a Buddhist? His name leads me to believe that he may have been furtively baptized.

  5. James Mac says

    Regrettably it’s hard to take Bono talking about dishonesty in any form seriously, given how much tax fiddling he does. (Indeed it’s harder than watching the Southpointe Church video).

  6. Clay Crouch says

    Of course Cruz denied the allegation. Duh, that’s EXACTLY what Lucifer would do.

  7. Cruz, for his part, officially denied being Lucifer in the flesh

    Never believe anything until it has been officially denied. 😉

  8. Also, that is not a classic Carmen video…

    THIS is a classic Carmen video. XD

  9. Sure, it’s just a video. I can watch it…38sec and that was it. Keep your money Chaplin Mike!

  10. Would driverless cars mean people wouldn’t need to have driver’s licenses? If a driverless car is pulled over for a speeding or other driving violation by a cop, who gets the ticket?

    • The firms working on these cars all say this and other issues are big issues to be worked out. Liability insurance is a big one. Does it go with the driver, the manufacturer, the software developer, the data based used to drive the software, etc…

      One likely fallout of driverless cars is that at some point 10 to 50 years down the road driving a car by a human will be a really big deal requiring a special license and everyone else will have the car drive them. And along the way most cars will either be rented or called as needed from a Lyft or Uber like company. Driving for Lyft and Uber is not a long term career move. The myriad of edge cases means we’re likely 5 years away from some of this. AT A MINIMUM. (Current state of the art doesn’t handle higher speeds, rain, snow, dark, etc…) But for commuters in more urban areas calling an autonomous car on demand may be the norm sooner than we think.

      As to your original question, since the driver will likely have no control over details like speed so the entire experience of getting a speeding ticket by being pulled over by a cop will change. More likely the cop would report the speeding to a central control (local?state?national) and the car would be flagged to slow down and take itself out of service until the reason for the “bug” could be addressed. And it may be that it is ignored if when reported it turns out there is a not considered dangerous error in the database entry for that stretch of road than is flagged to be fixed at 3am or some such.

      Now if the driver had overridden the programming to allow the car to speed they might be looking at jail time for “public endangerment”. It would be more like driving with a revoked license today than a speeding ticket.

      Laws will have to change. Radically in some ways.

      And still deal with commercial transport, rural/farm, and a lot of other edge cases.

      • Brianthedad says

        Call me a curmudgeon, a Luddite, if you will, but this just doesn’t sound like progress to me…

        • Don’t worry too much about it, Brian. Given peak oil, soon these expensive technologies just won’t make economic or environmental sense.

          • I agree. Better to invest in mass transit.

          • Well, the fleets of driveless cars that people only lease from some central hubs as needed may actually be more energy efficient and have less environmental impact. I assume they would not speed, which would save gasoline all by itself, and the companies that own them would have the incentive and wherewithal to make them as energy-efficient, and state-of-the-art, as possible. They might be viewed as a form of mass transit.

      • I’ll believe this the day get my hover board, or maybe my Mr. Fusion.

  11. Christiane says

    er, ‘Cruz is Lucifer in the flesh’ . . . okay . . .

    I knew there was something about Lucifer I didn’t like.

    • 🙂

    • “Cruz is Lucifer in the flesh”

      Well there goes my plans to be a Luciferian.

    • Lucifer needs a lawyer: defamation of character, pain and suffering. The case could be worth millions.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Wasn’t there some Christianese movie with exactly that premise?

    • Whatever faults Sen. Cruz may have, he doesn’t deserve to be called “Lucifer in the flesh.” Nor does anyone else currently holding or seeking the presidency.

      Evidently John Boehner is still peeved that his political career ended because his own party revolted against him and his leadership.

    • Donalbain says

      One of these days, the real Zodiac Killer will come forward, just because he is getting upset that people are accusing him of being Ted Cruz.

  12. Richard Hershberger says

    King James only: Is this movement actually expanding? I think of it as something mostly found in the backest of back woods, and which makes other fundamentalists roll their eyes. Did I miss something?

    As for rejecting the Greek, this is the clear implication. If you are going to take the KJV-only line, this can only be supported by declaring it to be inspired–essentially a new set of scriptures. Or at least–and I have actually seen this faux-sophisticated argument–declare this of the Textus Receptus. Either way, it is as good an example of bibliolatry as you could ask for.

    • It is not expanding. It is dying. It was never anything more than a tribal boundary marker anyway, and when people started trying to make it sound intellectual and well reasoned is when it started to die. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of “the original greek” either (which doesn’t actually exist, but that’s another story). I’m not sure I’d classify either as biliolotrists (yes! made up a word on Saturday morning!), but they do share a common problem. They have a text that they have declared is authoritative, and then they use it to say what they want to say.

      • Brianthedad says

        There is a church in our area whose sign had all their boundary markers displayed on it, pre-mill and Kjv1611-only among them. Last time I passed by, the sign had been replaced and the kjv1611 image removed. So, at least by my single data point trend line (lol), I agree the belief is on the way out.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        Every field of study can have a dumbed down version, but when done well, the study of Greek New Testament manuscripts in the attempt to reconstruct the earliest possible version of the text is serious scholarship.

      • It is largely getting replaced by a growing ESV Only movement. According to them, only REAL Christians who believe in an inerrant Bible read the ESV.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          “Oh, the more it changes
          The more it stays the same;
          And the Hand just rearranges
          The players in the game…”
          — Al Stewart, “Nostradamus”, 1973

    • Klasie Kraalogies says

      Ken Ham’s son (or Hamlet, if you prefer 😉 ) was a pastor at a KJV only church last time I checked.

      • KJO is one of those “hidden” things in many churches. In many churches the pulpit many not be KJO but many of the members are. But from what I’ve seen most of them are older. Younger tend to not comprehend the issue.

        But since KH is a huge KJO fan you get people who may not really believe in it themselves but are defending YEC and KH and have to deal with awkward moments at times.

        • Well plus, there is “KJO” by default boundary marker, and then there is “KJO” by loud Truth Claims. I went to an SBC church that was the former – the pastor would tell on one plainly that they only used the KJV from the pulpit for tradition reasons but that it was not special in any other way. The latter is…well, I can’t think of anything charitable to say, so I will uncharacteristically shut my mouth.

          • I grew up in the latter and eventually moved to the former. It was a relief to switch and get away from the stupid.

            ProTip – never called it “King James Only”. It’s King James VERSION Only. Force them to recognize the KJV is just a version, it’s not just the King James Bible.

          • Richard Hershberger says

            Strictly speaking, it is the Authorized Version. I would think that this can lead to interesting discussions of “authorized by whom?”

          • authorized

            That opens the door to the discussion of Virginia (and other states?) requiring preachers to be licensed back in the day.

    • I enjoy listening to distant AM radio stations at night. There’s a radio station in West Virginia which comes in pretty clearly in my neck of the woods once the sun goes down. On weeknight evenings they carry broadcasts by several Christian preachers. At least two of them consider any English translations other than King James to be “perversions of Scripture.” One of the speakers continuously drones on about the “no faith of Christ leaven” in more modern translations and declares the 1611 KJV to be God’s true word.

      Fortunately, it’s now baseball season and I can also receive a Connecticut station which broadcasts my favorite team, the Boston Red Sox. Even on a bad night, that beats the “KJV only”

      • Oops, I hit post too soon. That should read “Even on a bad night, that beats the “KJV only” preachers.”

      • Richard Hershberger says

        As a point of information, you can subscribe to MLB Gameday Audio for about $20 a season and get the radio feed (both home and away) of every game, with no silly blackout restrictions. I have been a subscriber going back to the days of dial-up. The trick is that MLB really wants to sell you the television package for considerably more money. So if you go to the MLB page and try to follow links, you won’t find the audio package. You have go google it. “MLB gameday audio” will take you right there. Then again, if you are out of area for your team, the TV package might be a good deal. I’m not, so it would be nearly useless to me.

        • Thanks. I currently work evenings and wouldn’t be able to listen to the games at work since I don’t have a computer I can access at my work station, nor do I own a smartphone. I’ll consider the audio package if I switch to daytime hours.

        • Gameday Audio is a gift directly from the hand of God.

    • Well one foolish response to the KJV only folks is no KJV at all. Still. along with Ole Will, the English language’s finest hour. (In many scholar’s estimation it frequently IMPROVES on the original.) But I do think it should be read as a work of literature in and of itself now and not primarily as a translation. Exactly like the way we read Shakespeare. Of course people don’t talk like that anymore but who cares about that?!!?

    • But after the dust settles, the King James is still one of the best versions available. Stylistically it’s on the top of the pile, and as far as accuracy goes, well, all I have to do is mention the NIV. What a disappointment that has turned out to be.

      But I still use my RSV, and the Good News New Testament ain’t bad. To settle an argument (which isn’t really possible) I pull out the Greek.

  13. Daniel — It’s great to have you back! I always love your Ramblings. The dumb animal names, for their dumbness, and the car swamp cooler, for its coolness, have made my morning.

    I’m going to have to give Naked Gardening Day a pass, to the relief of everyone on my road. I generally have one or two cats sitting on my shoulders or climbing up my back while I garden. If I could find a kevlar teeshirt, I’d wear it.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      Thanks, Damaris

    • Damaris, while traveling through the California desert during the summer, in a car without air conditioning,Both my wife and I began to feel faint. Fearing that we would be forced to stop and find relief in some backwater motel, we found a quick solution: taking a towel, dampening it with a bottle of water, and then laying it over the vents and turning on the fan. Instant swamp cooler! It got us through the heat of the day. It would have been much nicer to have that cool looking Rambler instead!

      • Now that’s appropriate technology! My dad used to have a canvas water bag that he would hang where breeze could cool it — same principle.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          Evaporative cooling works great, so long as the humidity is very low. I lived in the Mojave Desert for years. Very few people have air conditioning in their homes. They have what are locally called “swamp cooolers.” These are roof units that blow outside air through a wet filter and into the house. They are very effective, except for the two weeks in August when the humidity goes up. Then they just make it worse. The point to them is that they are far cheaper to operate than air conditioners.

          • petrushka1611 says

            I really wish they worked in high-humidity regions. I’ve looked at them, but they ain’t gonna fly in southwestern Ohio.

            I only recently found out about the car-sized swamp cooler when I saw one at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville. That’s a terrific place to spend a few hours…and I don’t even know that much about cars.

  14. (1) The swamp cooler remains one of the most efficient means of cooling out there. The epitome of Italian ingenuity. Ok, so the ancient Egyptians used the technology, but DaVinci was the first known design of a mechanical air cooler.
    (2) So, Gary Herbert…you don’t have any other issues going on in the industry state?
    (3) Just plain crazy.
    (4) Boaty McBoatface is almost as epic as a whole day dedicated to nude gardening. It’s too bad that all those people who want to garden in the nude are mostly in their 60s.
    (5) I swore to myself that I would earn $20 this morning. I didn’t.
    (6) The Hamilton Rule only really makes sense in an honor culture…and when dealing with Trump.
    (7) It is so hard to believe how authentic Bono is with all his success and money. Whereas many pastors and religious leaders, with their moderate success fail. Why is that?
    (8) I’m not worried about Google teaming up with FCA. I’m worried about FCA teaming up with Google.

  15. Bono is right about the lack of honesty and realism in Christian music and art (to understate the obvious). I think the last songwriter with any honesty was Rich Mullens. His song, ‘We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are’ is a stark contrast to the ‘happy happy Jesus’ drivel one hears on Christian radio, or the schmaltzy paintings of Thomas Kinkaid. I used to listen to songs by Harry Chapin (back in the 80s and 90s) and think how painful and real they were, and how phony contemporary Christian music was (and is). Chapin wrote about broken dreams, and even bad marriages! His live album is classic.

    Now about Joel Osteen and that tractor fight. I thought maybe that was part of the interview, then I realized I was watching a Benny Hinn crusade!

    • My wife got a movie from the library the other night; it was called Woodlawn, and it was a “Christian” film. Magical thinking given cinematic treatment. Although the acting and technical aspects of the film were not bad, the story was nothing but evangelism; there was no art involved. As we watched it I kept thinking, “This not what life is like, this is not what my life is like, this not what the life of any Christian I know is like”. Complete disconnect from reality.

      Btw, the music of Fernando Ortega is pretty good.

      • Yep. Just like ‘Firewall’, ‘Facing the Giants’, and all the other movies from that Baptist church in Atlanta. Wonderful fairy tales but pretty far removed from real life. If only it always turned out that we lived happily ever after.

      • Fernado Ortega is good. So is Andrew Peterson and Michael Card. But these guys don’t get a lot of time on contemporary stations.

    • I’d add Josh Garrels and Jon Foreman to the list of Christian musicians who do a decent job of writing non-phony music. Also Derek Webb’s “She Must And Shall Go Free” and the albums after that, although his later stuff became so focused on politics that it’s hard sometimes to hear the faith under it. Or if you’re looking for something a bit more edgy, there’s Jennifer Knapp’s “Letting Go” album, or “The Divine Liturgy of the Wretched Exiles” by the Psalters.

    • Agreed on Mullins, they just don’t make Christian songwriters like that too much these days.

      Generally, early Christian music was thoughtful and reflective compared to today’s. It’s like, it started out as art, then the industry took over and everyone collectively sold out. Seriously, who turns on Christian radio to hear good music these days?

      I’d add Randy Stonehill to the list of names already given. He had some poppy stuff, but he was capable of articulating the struggle in creative and thought provoking ways.

      • Clay Crouch says

        “Agreed on Mullins, they just don’t make Christian songwriters like that too much these days.”

        Sure they do. You’re just looking and listening in all the wrong places.

        • I’m looking at the mainstream Christian music industry. Previously, artists like Mullins were celebrated and promoted.. These days, musicians and songwriters of that calibre are not getting Christian radio time, and many of them operate independently. The “they” who isn’t making artists like that is the industry.

  16. If people (I guess mostly men?) are addicted to porn (and I do believe such addiction occurs), it’s because of underlying causes like isolation, loneliness, alienation, insecurity, etc.; all the same things that feed other addictions. People are in pain; they, we, turn to drugs, food, alcohol, porn, religion, and you name it, for relief.

    I tend to believe that addiction and addictive tendencies are far more widespread in human beings than is currently recognized; in my experience, the main difference between many of us and full blown addicts is that our habits are not as socially and personally crippling, even though our attachment to our habits is just as pervasive and deep. I daresay that many in Utah who support the Governor’s resolution secretly harbor addictions and addictive tendencies themselves; start with acknowledging your commonality with those you seek to “cure”.

    Unless your true objective is old-fashioned censorship, in the service of making a world in which you feel more morally comfortable.

    • I don’t censure pornography, but I do recognize that some of the unscrupulous in the industry spawn many social problems. Of course, the problem with that approach is that the exact same thing can be said of Wall-Street or even respectable business. In my mind, this is nothing more than a smoke screen – one of those moral issues that no one really wants to take the time to disagree with, and we can all unite behind against a common enemy. I think it is pure rhetoric and posturing.

    • I do get the impression that the governor would define teen “hypersexualization” as any interest in sex at all.

    • Saying that banning porn is censorship is to assert that porn is nothing more than communication.

      But it isn’t that simple. It’s also prostitution.

      • What’s the problem with prostitution?

        • When you make it illegal, it isn’t called “censorship.”

          • No, it’s just called ‘ineffective’. And like many vices, making it out-and-out illegal tends to make it harder, not easier, to control.

            Want to reduce the incidence of a behavior? Tax it. Y’know, ‘job-killing tax increases’ and all that?

      • Not by any definition that matters, Miguel. But flesh this idea out for me. Is there anything – anything – that might be censured that isn’t more than communication?

        • How is paying for sex not prostitution? Oh, the camera is rolling. Totally different. “I wasn’t soliciting, officer, honest! I was looking for an actress to co-star in with me in my film!”

          The whole idea behind freedom from censorship is that it prevents the government from silencing those who would criticize it, and thus giving it unlimited power and thought control.

          We have no problem censuring child pornography, because it is evil. It harms children and is a blight on society. Adult porn is viewed as a “lesser evil” because of age and consent, but it is still evil. It harms the people who make it and consume it, and it is a blight on civilized society. The censoring of this stuff doesn’t empower the government to silence dissent. It would be the government acting in the interest of societal good.

          I’m not necessarily saying that I think it should be completely banned. But I am convinced it is a harmful substance that effects people physiologically, neurologically, and psychologically. It would be partly like censorship, partly like regulating a substance, and partly like the laws we have against certain other sexual practices. It’s just a bit more complex than simply reducing it to free speech. Sex is so much more than communication.

          • Robert F says

            I wonder where you would draw the line. If a mainstream film had some highly erotic and realistic-looking (whose to say if real sexual engagement actually happens on the sets of mainstream films during the filming of erotic scenes?) scenes, would those fall under the kind of new dispensation you’re suggesting? Would such films, or such scenes, be considered pornographic, and treated differently from other mainstream film? And would you stop with film, or would you include erotic painting, literature, sculpture as pornographic, and therefore in some ways proscribed by law and social custom? What would be your criteria for distinguishing proscribed pornography from legitimate erotic art? Would the government be in the business of defining this? Does it have the expertise?

          • How is paying for sex not prostitution? Oh, the camera is rolling. Totally different.
            Yes, it is totally different. That is why it is legally defined differently. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here.
            We have no problem censuring child pornography, because it is evil. It harms children and is a blight on society. Adult porn is viewed as a “lesser evil” because of age and consent, but it is still evil.
            I don’t think comparing child pornography to adult films is legitimate or a good rhetorical strategy. While one might believe porn is an evil, it isn’t “lesser” – it is a totally different kind.
            Adult porn…is still evil. It harms the people who make it and consume it, and it is a blight on civilized society.
            I am thinking it would be very difficult to defend those assertions; nevertheless, I do think it has problems. I would be more likely to use the word “unhealthy” than “evil”, but still. The question is whether a government that banned porn was in fact acting in the interest of societal good. I think not, and I think the history of democratic philosophy in the West does a good job of explaining why the facts of history seem to back this up.
            Perhaps a better way forward would be through education, rather than some kind of “thou shalt not”.

          • Robert,

            Indeed, those questions are the problem, and probably a big part of the reason no government will likely take that path. Defining pornography is a notoriously difficult task. I believe the classic legal formulation is “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.” True story, I actually knew a guy who did his doctoral dissertation attempting to pin this one down. I disagreed with his conclusion, his approach would have made God the ultimate pornographer.

            I wouldn’t know where to draw that line, but when people are having sex for money, that can’t be good. It’s dehumanizing for all parties involved.

          • Doc, legally different doesn’t mean morally different. You simply asserted they are different, but you didn’t explain how. Porn stars are paid money to have sex, on camera. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it isn’t just as dehumanizing as prostitution, or quite possibly more so.

            Exploiting children is obviously a different breed of heinous. But it isn’t one that simply vanishes overnight the moment they turn 18. Just because they are legally capable of consent doesn’t mean coercion is no longer involved, and it doesn’t mean that they are psychologically and developmentally capable of making responsible decisions about something that will so drastically affect the course of their lives. The cognitive decision making faculties of the brain aren’t fully developed until many years later. You can’t hide behind a definition of legal status and say it’s a different kind of evil for two persons 24 hours apart in age. Before the law, yes (and these laws are good). But that is not the only important measure of reality.

            Porn always exploits people. My assertion that it harms the people who make it and consume it is very easy to defend. Aside from the mountains of anecdotal evidence that is out there, and countless moral arguments against it, I’ve heard numerous psychologists articulate how they have observed it to shape attitudes towards women, not to mention the reality of sex addiction and the cottage industry devoted to helping with it. I can introduce you to several people who have severe psychological problems deeply connected to various levels of porn use. Objectifying people is never good, and doing it for pleasure makes us into monsters.

            Obviously this is beyond the purview of government to fix, but government DOES address it. The porn industry is very regulated. We already draw plenty of lines around it. Who’s to say the government isn’t going far enough? Who’s to say it hasn’t gone too far already?

          • Robert F says

            I agree that people having sex for money is not a good thing; but I think that government getting too far into the business of defining criteria for what is protected expression, and what is not, is worse.

          • It harms people physiologically? I guess if you’re talking about stds among performers you might be right.

            But at the same time as we have this supposed ‘crisis’ of porn, we also have the lowest teen pregnancy rates in 60 years, record drops on std prevalence, the least sexual abuse for 20 years, and big drops in abortion. And if you take self-reported behavior at at least some value, the LEAST sexually risky teenagers in a long time.

            So what gives? In terms of a ‘crisis’ where’s the beef?

            We’ve followed you guys over this cliff so many times before. Prohibition, Dungeons and Dragons, ‘satanic’ music, the War on Drugs, ugh. Heck, it’s turning out that, no, there is NOT a plague sex trafficking going on. Have you *ever* been right about this sort of thing?

          • I agree, Robert. But when having sex for money is “protected expression,” we’re playing the kind of games with words that creates a vague enough criteria for all kinds of stuff to be “protected expression.”

            Give me an example of something bad and harmful that could not be potentially justified by that. The government already DOES decide what qualifies and what does not. Murder is not protected expression. Prostitution is not. Putting a camera on either of those ought not justify them.

          • J, I have no idea what this “crisis of porn” that “you guys” are so worried about is. Sounds like you’ve assumed a whole boatload of stereotypes about me there. I’m practically libertarian. I simply think porn is bad. I otherwise enjoy drinking, listen to satanic music, and enjoy role playing games. But go ahead, though, swing your hammer at those nails.

            Also, correlation doesn’t prove causation. There could be all sorts of factors contributing to the drop in teen pregnancy, STDs, abuse, and abortion. As mentioned above, education is probably one of the biggest factors helping accomplish these things. Porn is the opposite of sex education, it disconnects sex from reality. Saying porn is responsible for those societal benefits sounds like a very difficult assertion to substantiate.

            Today’s teenagers may be smarter in some ways, but they’re dumber in others. We can all be thankful for a decrease in risky promiscuity. However, other things, such as sexting, are becoming near universal, and it remains to be seen how bad decisions in that regard will come to negatively effect kids being careless with these things later in life. “Pics or it didn’t happen” means that earlier risks stayed in vegas, but today’s bad decisions can come back to haunt you at any point in your future.

  17. Would’ve appreciated a trigger warning before the Carman video.

  18. Did anyone else who watched the whole Southpointe Church video have the next video come up as Corey Goode Interview Part 1 or have I slipped over the edge. My guess would be that I am the only person at the Monastery to have ever heard of Corey Goode before. Big Google is watching us all. This really was strange.

  19. “The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.” ~ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Douglas Adams


  20. CM owes me $20.

  21. Does this Carman guy always look as angry as he does in the two videos posted here?

  22. I heard a cover version of this song recently on the radio, by an artist whose name I didn’t quite hear. Anyway, it prompted me to go back and listen to the old Gordon Lightfoot original, and that brought back memories, bitter and sweet, of my childhood and adolescence.

  23. That Other Jean says

    Regarding Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and the Republican Party leadership: Gentlemen, you broke it; now you own it.

    Also, that is one glorious Rambler.

    • It’s hard to see how it would be good for the country to have only one viable, powerful, networked political party instead of two. That would inevitably lead to the abuses of one-party rule. Not good for the nation.

      • That Other Jean says

        It wouldn’t be good for the country if the GOP imploded and disappeared. It would be a very good thing, though, if they took the drubbing that I profoundly hope they get in the 2016 election, looked at how irrational they have become, and reformulated the party. I’m a Democrat to the bone, but I think a party made up of people of good will , open to discussion and compromise, would be an excellent thing for the country. The Republicans used to be that party, and I hope they will be again.

    • Christiane says

      what ‘broke’ the Republican Party was extremism . . . they ‘played’ to it, and did it with a straight face . . . that ‘birtherism’ thing gave Donald Trump the moxie to play to a base he knew he could manipulate with even more outrageous claims and accusations . . . and the ‘base’ DID fall for it

      then comes along a fundamentalist-evangelical backlash ‘no Trump’ movement and who do they pick as their hero?
      LUCIFER in the flesh . . . deeply despised by all he worked with and apparently, when you look at the things he was up to, that weasel earned the bad rep

      I agree with Robert F that we need a strong two party system in this country, but ‘extremism’ will destroy those who ride the tiger and it has done this openly, visibly, undeniably . . .

      yep, they broke it . . . can they ‘fix it’ . . . with LUCIFER ??? give me a break, folks, there is something very unlikable about Cruz, and the dislike is felt by many at gut level . . . talk about ‘discernment’ . . . maybe the ‘Lucifer’ thing isn’t that far off the mark

      • Yeah, for all the Cruz hate I keep seeing on the right, I never hear a decent rational for it that goes beyond “I feel it in my gut” and “he has an ugly face.”

        • For, me, the dislike of Mr Cruz stems from his championing the pro-life movement while advocating carpet bombing places he believes terrorists are gathering. Would innocents die in the bombing fracas? Oh, well. I guess pro-life only means the ones you don’t hate.

          • That was an uncomfortable bit of rhetoric there. But seeing as how Trump is pro-choice, I don’t see how that one gave him the edge on this issue.

            Cruz is not going to mow down the skirts that the terrorists are hiding behind. He’s just talking tough for the debates. Trump is the one who said “Let’s go for their families.”

            I’m talking about the Trumpkins on the right: What does their candidate offer that Cruz doesn’t?

          • Miguel: Trump has said women who have abortions should be imprisoned. Twice.

          • Did he now? Well, that’s probably because he’s a misogynist, not because he’s pro-life.

          • Funny the way those go together so often…

        • Klasie Kraalogies says

          Miguel, a lot of it seems to come from the people who had to work with him. He seems to be an extremely unpleasant colleague.

          • Ok, so he’s ugly and he has a bad personality. For a minute there, I forgot it wasn’t a beauty pageant.

            I thought he answered that charge very well in the debates. He’s not popular in congress because he’s principled to a fault. I can’t imagine why so many conservatives are siding with congress on that one, as low as their approval ratings are.

          • Klasie Kraalogies says

            C’mon Miguel, don’t be so sensitive. Nobody here said anything about looking ugly. But as a politician, and especially as a leader, you have to be able to work with people, even the ones you disagree with. That seems to be the problem….

          • Miguel: How about the part where he accused Hagel–himself a fellow Senator and enlisted veteran–of possibly taking bribes from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere?

          • Miguel: meant to add; ‘principled’? No. Many words describe Cruz but not that one. When you are unswervingly evil and bad, that might be ‘consistent’ but it is not ‘principled’.

          • No worries, KK, but trust me, people ARE saying that about him. Maybe not here, but when it comes to substantive criticisms, that’s what I hear the most. I happen to agree. He ain’t the prettiest candidate by a bit. I just think it’s a silly reason to hate him. ESPECIALLY if you’re a social and fiscal conservative.

            Yeah, Cruz doesn’t seem like a negotiator. However, as a senator he answers to the people who elected him, not the other senators. Texas was pretty happy with him, and to me, that says volumes more than making friends with the corrupt Washington game.

            J, I really don’t care who accused whom of what. “He said mean things about me” is par for the political game. Hagel may well be among the more upstanding senators, but you can’t convince me that congress is not corrupt. I get that you don’t like Cruz. But if you’re not a conservative, that doesn’t surprise me. I’m not looking for reasons that people hate him. I’m trying to understand why conservatives, evangelicals, and fundamentalists are rallying behind Trump rather than him. Cruz is a poster child for the religious right.

            You’re telling me he is unswervingly evil and bad. I’ve heard that a bit. I haven’t heard anyone flesh that out. It seems to me that his traditional positions on morality and the constitution earn him more hate than his actual performances or decisions. But I don’t really follow politics that much: He could be a legit scoundrel. But if so, you’d think people would be bringing up plenty more details beyond just generic expressions of disgust.

  24. Christiane says

    Hi DANIEL,
    that ‘car swamp cooler’ . . . in 1952, my father bought (for cash) a brand new Mercury for us to travel across country to California, where he was going to be stationed as a Navy man. As I recall, my father rigged up something similar to what you are talking about so that we little ones in the back seat would be cooler. Can’t remember exactly how he did it, but it involved water (maybe ice) and the window partially opened and air blowing in over the device. I don’t remember it working very well, but I’ve always thought my father was among the more creative individuals in this world for his make-do inventions. Pop was a natural. He thought about problems and how to fix them from the materials that were available. That was a kind of humility we don’t see too much these days, as we take so much for granted . . . I wonder how much money we would save if we had the resourcefulness of the older people who went before us. Thanks for mentioning the ‘cooler’, as it brought back memories of my father. 🙂

  25. Daniel –

    It’s great to see you back w/the ramblings.

    I made it through the church video but I don’t think CM owes me money. I’ve seen much much worse. This one was merely mediocre and silly.

    However, Daniel, I will be sending you the bill for the therapy I need after seeing that Carmen video….

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      You apparently did not read the 75 page imonk “terms of use” policy, which explicitly states that emotional distress and lowering of the I.Q. may result from watching Carmen videos, and that you are responsible for your own therapy bills should you choose to proceed.