Thursday, July 23, 2009

Road Warrior

Semi-big day for yours truly. Today I passed my Illinois Secretary of State exam and now have my CDL-A (Commercial Driver's License--Class A). I am only shy three endorsements which I will have by next week's end or thereabouts. For the uninitiated, endorsements are simply certifying that you can drive particular scenarios such as double/triple trailers, tankers, hazardous materials (which are the three I lack) and one could even get approved for busses. But if a job arises that doesn't require these endorsements I lack, I can drive their big rigs.

So nice to get that little monkey off my back. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be, though I prayed a lot, for both myself and the other candidates (though two out of four failed---perhaps my prayers were only half as good as I thought or I needed to pray twice as much as I did). I got a good natured examiner and light traffic with all the lights in my favor. Only one spot on the road course presented a challenge. I was idling in sixth gear approaching an intersection where I could see the left turn arrow had been on for a while. Four or five vehicles in my lane began to move, but the last care didn't move at all (the dude wasn't paying attention). At this point in the course, I would normally have downshifted only to sixth and if necessary, just stopped at the intersection. With a vehicle in front of you, you have to be able to see the pavement between you and not go closer (gives you the chance to go around if the guy stalls and is also a safety issue). I was at a point where I probably should have just stopped and then started over from second gear, but the dude began to move. I was already flipping the selector button down for the low gears and the stick just slipped out of gear. As I was still rolling a bit, I revved and tried to put it into fifth and got a bit of grind, so I revved again and it slipped nicely into fourth and I was able to proceed as if nothing special had happened (showing I was in control, when actually for a second there, I wasn't---there was no real danger, though, it just doesn't look good on such a test). Had I had trouble shifting to fourth, I probably would have failed the test. The rest of the test was uneventful except for the congratulations from the examiner when it was over.

For the rest of the day I didn't want to do anything. I was more anxious having passed than I was waiting for my turn to test. So nice to have it behind me. Now, of course, I have to think about if I even want to do this work. The liklihood of having to go over-the-road is very high and though I part of me wants to do that, it's also the part of me that wants to be a cowboy. Not really practical for who I am now at this age. I may have no choice, but I gotta see what I can find close to home that'll get me home every night. My life is what I do AFTER work. I don't want to live to work, I want to work to live (that is if I MUST work). All the things I like to do, all the things that mean I have a life happens after I punch out. At my age, I don't want to do less of it, I want to do more. And the worst of it, being away for extended periods from my wife and child----not good.

But I am happy that I passed the test and did so on the first try. No re-takes necessary for ole Marshall Art. Now I can focus on another test in three weeks, that being my first rank in ju jutsu. This should have happened over a year ago had I not developed a need for another ACL in my knee. Then the lay-off and less money. So now I can get anxious all over again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

On Cronkite

With the passing of Walter Cronkite, it didn't really phase me that even conservative pundits would cover his life and times and do so wistfully speaking of their personal relationships and observations of this man considered America's first anchorman. There's no denying the guy's impact on television news reporting and many claim that they had no idea what his political leanings were until after he retired, though some say his leanings began to show a few years before he was somewhat talked out of his job in favor of the chuckleheaded Dan Rather. He is, in some ways, the end of an era that has really long since passed, that being the era of objective reporting of the news without the injection of the reporter's personal agenda.

But tonight on Bill O'Reilly's show, Billy O said something that pushed me to provide this link when I had not planned on doing so. O'Reilly said that he was telling the truth about Viet Nam, or sentiments to that effect. The link presents what I've heard from a variety of sources for years. Cronkite was a major factor in turning sentiment in America towards the radical anti-war drivel that helped seal our fate in that war.

As the link relates, the Tet Offensive was a resounding victory for American/S.VietNam forces with the commies suffering casualties ten times what we did. That's a victory in anyone's book, but Uncle Walter chose to focus only on OUR losses. You'd think that for a veteran war reporter, he would understand that allied losses occur in every war. That a war is decided by which side suffers more losses. We were winning. We should have and could have won. This turning of American sentiment (and if anyone thinks Uncle Walter didn't have that kind of impact on viewers, they likely weren't born until after he left the airwaves) was noticed with wonder by leaders of North Viet Nam and helped them strengthen their resolve. As our people began to protest after this great victory, they figured our hearts weren't into it and their tactics changed and their spirits rose. They knew they just had to keep on keeping on and the whining from our leftists in the streets was their indicator that they were winning and not us.

Thanks a lot, Walter. May God forgive you.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Women Should Stifle?

Archie Bunker always used to tell his wife Edith to "Stifle!" when he no longer wanted to hear her speak. In the ongoing debate regarding the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, the idea of women being silent in church is often brought up to prove something about my true adherence to Scripture. (It should be noted that I do not claim to be the perfect representation of Christian living, but only that I don't try to twist Scripture to justify my failures.)

The argument is that since Paul speaks of women being silent in churches, that it shows that change has come to the Body of Christ and thus, such change can and/or has also come regarding the Church's position on homosexual behavior. Well, I had never spent much time looking at those verses that claim that women stifle themselves in church, but considering the choir in mine, that wouldn't be a good thing. In addition, I had always felt that there was much more to the story but that there were far more important concerns.

Since the argument has come up again, and by a particular visitor who relies on it greatly, I have begun to research the issue and among the many sites I've visited in this quest, this one explains the issue in a manner that matches what I had basically felt from my own Biblical study. I doubt it will suffice for the visitor in question, but it is a sensible and logical explanation nonetheless.

The site from which it comes, "The Refiner's Fire" is an interesting site I intend to examine further, but whether or not one agrees with what they say, I don't think they are off base at all regarding the issue at hand. As I've said, I've visited several other sites and have found pretty much the same thing. I just like the way it's laid out at this site.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Forum For Dan Only

This is a post specifically for Dan. It is something I've been wanting to do for a while and I have been trying to find something that is as comprehensive in its covering of the issue of homsexuality from a Christian perspective as this piece is.

It is put together by a guy named Ross A. Taylor. I don't know if he designs helicopters. I don't know exactly what he does for a living, whether religion is a hobby or a career or what. For all I know, he cleans stalls at the racetrack. It really doesn't matter, except to one particular visitor to this blog.

What's important is what he presents in his piece. And it is only that to which I hope Dan will respond. This piece covers every pro-homosex argument I've ever heard or seen or read as far as the faith is concerned. Dan's friend, Michael with the three names has hit on much of it. (Though I hadn't the education at that point, I found those arguments suspect and it earned me banishment from that blog.)

Of the many people used as sources for Taylor, both pro and con, are bits from the same Olliff and Hodges, the Hodges one visitor criticizes because of his main field, as if he is then disqualified from commenting on the issue. (Perhaps as a result of Hodges main profession, this particular visitor can't imagine someone being expert on another topic at the same time. Kinda points to his own insecurities regarding his own abilities.)

Another is Robert Gagnon, who has been dismissed for reasons unknown (except for one really silly reason I heard from a homosexual blogger who never visits here). All I know is that the homosexual enablers pooh-pooh Gagnon's expertise without explanation.

It is my hope that should Dan take me up on this challenge, that he will resist trashing the people making the claims and address only the claims themselves. If those claims are wrong or mistaken, there must be some explanation as to why which can easily be reviewed by others so as to make their own opinions. For example, regarding another piece from Olliff and Hodges that I cut and pasted to my first ever post, Dan, who says he actually read it, said simply that he just doesn't buy it, without ever explaining why or what he found wrong with their perspective.

This challenge to Dan is in response to his insistence that his current beliefs regarding homosexual marriage is based on prayerful meditations, his God-given reasoning and serious study of the Bible. Well, we can't really speak to his meditations or his reasoning. But his reasoning, I would expect, must in some way be based on his Biblical study. As this Taylor piece suggests very strongly, there doesn't exist anything Biblical that could influence anyone's reasoning toward the belief that God would bless homosexual marriages, relationships or loving and committed monogomous homosexual relationships.

I really hope Dan takes this challenge and reads the link. He can take all the time he needs. He can refer to any of the links found within (though at least a couple are broken) and try to show why any of the points made are mistaken or false. I don't think he can. As I said, the piece is pretty comprehensive. It even allows, a time or two, where a pro-homosex argument is possibly sound, even if not strongly so.

In the meantime, I want to ask everyone else to refrain from any commentary at all. If Dan is especially busy, it could take a couple of days just to get through it (it did me with the usual interruptions of family life) and if he wants to check out the links within, that'll make it take longer. Then, let him take the time to address whatever points to which he may feel he has a good counterpoint.

Should he agree to go ahead, I hope he doesn't just dismiss the whole thing without any comment. I hope he feels comfortable rejecting his current philosophy if the argument compels him so. If he's as open to being persuaded as I am, he will find support here. If he is not persuaded, he will find support only if he can explain his resolve against the evidence presented.

After a couple of weeks, whether Dan comments or not, then anyone can comment. But Dan has first rights of commentary and I'll delete any comment that publishes before him. The only caveat to this whole thing is if he and Bubba decide to take up Craig's offer, at which time they can both link to this article as it serves their debate there. Then, this post will be open to anyone who cares to address the points made in the piece.

It's a tough challenge, Dan. How strong are your convictions? How good is your ability to defend what you believe against the overwhelming evidence that you will encounter here? I believe you are misled. Show me why I'm wrong.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Sad Realities

I came across this sordid tale and hesitated to present it. It's disturbing without question. It riles me as little else can. There has been calls for the death penalty for people like the scum in the story. I can't say that I don't agree with that sentiment.

That such monsters exist in our world is not the issue. It is not the issue either that this particular monster is a homosexual. What is the issue is the fact that the media didn't see fit to cover this story as they did an earlier rape case referred to in the link, and likely familiar to everyone not living in a shack in the woods.

How can this be? How can such a horror not compel every news agency to report this? Is the mainstream media so in the bag for the homosexual movement that even stories as horrifying as this one won't be worthy of headlines?

Obviously this is so. I recall Rush Limbaugh once reporting on a homosexual rape by a member of the Navy that was never covered. And are we to assume that all those pedophile priests that are used to besmirch the Catholic Church are simply heteros who couldn't find little girls to abuse? Sure. If you believe that, I've got some magic beans I'm willing to sell ya.

Who cares what "orientation" a perpetrator is where the victims are kids? But why hide it? Unlike some, including some who visit here, I'm not willing to assume only the best about anyone, any more than I'm willing to assume the worst. Isn't the former every bit as judgemental as the latter? This is certainly the manner in which the media should be doing its investigations and reporting.

Does it mean anything that this scumbag is a homosexual? Who knows? It seems to matter when a lawbreaker is right wing or Evangelical. Perhaps, however, if the media wouldn't pretend it doesn't matter (as if they have the brains to know one way or the other), we might find out. Or we may find out about something we'd wish we'd have known a long time ago, for good or ill. But the point is that just like the media refuses to report when the latest shooter is a Muslim, they also refuse to report when a perpetrator is a homoseuxal. One can only surmise that the sad reality is that their support for the homosexual movement, and I think it's a fair suspicion that most of the media supports them, compels them to hide this little detail. Shameful.

Happy Independence Day!!!

Yes, that's why the 4th of July is honored. It's the day we recognized as the day we formally claimed our independence from Britain. It's currently my favorite period in American history (as my interests in such things change for a variety of reasons). As such, average movies, such as Mel Gibson's "The Patriot", are more enjoyable for me. But several recent books I've read (or on deck to read) cover that period, so I'm getting better insights into the mindsets of our forefathers and the times in which they lived.

In this day and age, there is little that relates to that time in the life of our country. We hear references to those times mostly in lamentations. Our "leaders" nowadays bear no resemblance to those who risked so much to form a new nation. Without a doubt, our current president is about as far from our first presidents as one can possibly imagine, without being a total Ayatollah or Fuhrer. We've been sliding to this abyss for quite some time, and now, Barry is trying to push us over the edge.

That we as a nation are dangling over this precipice is without question. It is only a matter of what we do about it. Now is the time to look back to our nation's beginnings and study all that led to our revolution, what was sacrificed and put at risk, and most importantly, what words like "freedom" and "liberty" really mean. We cannot continue on the path to which our nation strayed several presidencies ago, and to which Obama gleefully and boldly now travels at such a dangerous speed.

Pay attention. Get involved. Call your representatives and hound them until they understand just how they are to represent us. With the situation in Minnesota resulting in the election of Stuart Smalley, it is more important than ever to do so. When 2010 arrives, it might be too late to correct the harm done by Smalley's victory, but corrections can and must be made.

Too many have lost sight of what our America is supposed to be and mean. Some are beginning to realized their mistake last November. Hopefully more will awaken before we begin that long fall over that precipice, and the painful and fatal splat that signals its end. Complacency and apathy can no longer be tolerated of ourselves. Action is mandatory.

In the meantime, don't blow off any fingers. Don't stand too close to the grill. Sedate your dogs. Enjoy the show.