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Why socialism is now “cool”

Several years ago at a political candidate’s announcement event, an older woman came up to the candidate after his speech while I was standing next to him, and asked him to do something about how liberal colleges have become. I was close enough to both people to see their feelings.

“My grandson became a socialist and has disavowed everything his family has worked hard for since we moved here from Italy three generations ago,” she said, almost crying.

The Republican candidate seemed unmoved. Fighting socialist indoctrination on college campuses is probably not a big potential money maker for most would-be elected officials.

And no question about what she said, American colleges are now Ground Zero for socialist indoctrination and brainwashing. You can take a good kid from a solid loving, working home, with law-abiding working parents, a good work ethic, good grades, and a positive outlook on life, and within two semesters at pretty much any college in America, lose them to chic leftist radicalism. That is, socialism aka Everything that America is Not.

Which begs the question of Why.

My observation is socialism is popular because the younger generations have had to fight for nothing. They are spoiled rotten.

Everything has been given to them. Cars, expensive phones, expensive clothes, trips, freedom to come and go, time off from chores and work, peer-to-peer equal relationships with their parents and grandparents. As a consequence, America’s younger people are the world’s most spoiled little brats in the history of our planet. At their sixteenth birthday they are convinced they already know everything, including how the latest car racing simulator on XBox is actually – I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP – more realistic than actually driving (Yes, I really did hear a 16-year-old say this to his family recently).

As a result of being so spoiled and having no real meaningful adversity in their lives, the younger generations are looking for, searching for, adversity. Even if it means dreaming it up, inventing it out of thin air or out of bits and pieces of reality stitched together with bubblegum and bailing wire. It gives them a sense of meaning and purpose. And when they find it, it gives them a cause. Teenagers are nothing if not moral purists, and when they discover from their fake teachers that all of the money their parents worked hard for is actually stolen from living American Indians and ex-slave Blacks, they have discovered some adversity worth fighting against.

And off on the socialist crusade they go, filled with rage at their parents’ callous disregard for the poor and the suffering, the dispossessed.

The fact that their own grandparents disembarked from a boat into New York Harbor in 1948 with a grand total of a suitcase half-filled with clothes and the name of a nephew to their name doesn’t register. Or if you are from coal country, with your own grandparents telling you stories about how they and their parents worked in and around the coal mines, you are coached by a professor in “sociology” (yes, this is a real college thing, even though it is real nothing) to see your grandparents not as hard workers, but as exploited labor who enriched a bunch of wealthy aristocrats.

The entertainment industry is now the primary source for role models, values, and social cues, and add in some Hollywood movie virtue signalling, and we have now two generations of American kids who are spoiled, nearly worthless, unappreciative, un-grounded, disconnected from reality, and uninterested in anything except behaviors that make them feel good for the moment.

Even though my wife and I come from dramatically different backgrounds, we shared one common experience growing up that forms the foundation for our relationship: We had to work hard from a young age.

My wife made her own nice clothes for school, because neither she nor her parents could afford to buy nice clothes at the stores. And while I grew up splitting firewood daily from the age of nine, I had to work for my dad starting at age 14. Working on construction sites as the boss’s kid, doing all the worst jobs, got me plenty of abuse and socked arms by workers who wanted to put me in my place. I learned then to drink buckets of shit and just do my job, to the satisfaction of the meanest, grumpiest old worker on the crew. So now that I have been paying federal taxes since I was 14, I think I have a work ethic, and my wife does, too.

Like all of our friends our age (fifties), my wife and I actually enjoy working and seeing the fruits of our labors. But like our friends, we are dinosaurs, kind of the last of the dying breed. The last of the Americans. The next couple of generations seem to think that everything is supposed to be handed to them, and it seems they will cheerfully give away their unique American freedoms to a gigantic all-powerful government apparatus if it promises them mediocre “free” income and healthcare.

Not that our own kids aren’t great. They are, and I love them absolutely. Like most parents, we have done our best to raise them right. But I am afraid that college can warp even them, leading them to believe that socialism is the answer for the mean, exploitative parents who made them mow the lawn, take out the trash, and hang up the clean laundry.

 

Paddling with Hollywood

Cheerfully our little crew paddled down the river, enjoying small Class II splashy whitewater rapids here and there, swift enough currents everywhere else that we need not really paddle much, if at all.

Turning aft, I squawked captain-like from my otherwise supine perch in the bow “Hard to the oars, ye pack o’ worthless lazy bones!”

The kids would laugh a bit at my best captain o’ the high seas bit, tepidly dip their paddles in the water like they were thinking about trying to paddle, and then go back to chattering amongst themselves about school, fellow students in school, classes, interpersonal politics and Politics with a capital P in school. Overall it was what had been hoped for when I made reservations with the outfitter the week before. Time with my kids and their friends, in nature, floating down a river, watching bald eagles, osprey, mergansers, wood ducks, migratory songbirds, deer, and on the lookout for bear.

Pausing to listen for and then spot white waterfalls cascading steeply out of the high canyon walls, I, the lookout, would occasionally point out where the crew could perhaps look up to if but briefly admire these little moments of grandeur passing by us. They did look the first half dozen times, and then tired of being bothered to do anything. I ended up dragging my hands in the cold foamy water, hoping to create some drag that would necessitate some serious paddling. When my hands turned red and then a purplish blue and stopped responding to commands to open or close, I gave up on influencing the kids in any way and just quietly admired the ride.

About two and a half hours into the drift, the kids started to sing. At first these were summer camp songs, and then theme songs from movies complete with beat-box noises from my daughter, and then songs from movies, mostly being rap-like. Their voices were sweet, and they would constantly run over each other, and then good-naturedly correct someone, and then try to get back on track in harmonic unison. Being of free and easy spirit, the kids were into having fun, and they would individually or together abruptly break out into a song-ending editorialization about the singer, the performer, the musician, or the movie the particular song came from.

The Earth Day environmental song, apparently popular now, was a big hit on our boat. They sang it over and over and over.

“And the zebra, I like how he says ‘I’m a zebra, I am striped, and I don’t know if I am black or if I am white’,” said the girl of this apparently surprising revelation, unaware that Dennis Prager, Rush Limbaugh, Larry Elder, and a slew of other radio talk show hosts and conservative politicians have been preaching an equal opportunity color-blind society for many decades.

And after about half an hour of back and forth chatter about this environmental planet cartoon movie and its song, it dawned on me that these kids are deeply enthralled by Hollywood and its entertainment business. They and their young impressionable minds are completely captured by images and made-up voices from highly paid songwriters and movie scripters, whose lines become memorized as moral guide posts along their young lives.

Many adults over the past ten or twenty years have bemoaned the advent of and then exponential increase in realistic at-home video games, the prevalence of handheld devices, and the trance-like state our children have grown up in glued to and Matrix-like plugged into these things. Well, I saw that we have transitioned beyond the gluing-in-and-tuning-out stage where we had to scream two inches from our kids’ face to ask them what they wanted for dinner.  Now we see the fruits of others’ indoctrination labors playing out over a decade or more: Our kids are wholly owned little robots of the entertainment industry, which is vacuous, morally bankrupt, materialistic, shallow, value-less, corrosive, and meaningless. No wonder our kids parrot all kinds of silly nonsense that emanate from movies and popular music; they are constantly bathing their brains in it.

And people like me thought the fight for America’s soul was a political one in Washington, DC!

Nope.

I learned on that day-long raft trip through spectacular natural beauty that the fight for a solid America is still at home, where we thought we had some influence, and we still might, and on college campus, where our parenting has been outsourced to welcoming Marxist professors eager to turn our kids inside out.

Yes, on this trip I had been paddling along with my kids and their friends, enjoying their happy company, but really I had been secretly and unknowingly paddling with Hollywood that whole way, and did not realize it until the very end, when I could say nothing.

The sea captain and his crew taking a break in a wondrous, magical waterfall in the middle of nowhere, on the run from Hollywood and pop culture

Here comes the Hokey Hookie Parade

If you were impressed by the Sore Losers Against Democracy march in early 2017, where hypocritical whiners convened in DC to complain about a defect in one man they had gleefully celebrated in the multiples when another man was in the Oval Office, then you are in for a big treat this March 24th.

Following Nikolas Cruz’s illegal and totally avoidable murderous rampage in Parkland, Florida, the same hypocritical whiners are gathering once again in DC.

This one is the Hokey Hookie Parade.

And though this includes a bunch of school kids forced from school by activist teachers, the parade is very much the same old gun prohibitionist groups we have all come to know in various guises over the years. The same T-shirts, signs, posters, and demands as the past. Americans rejected them before, so maybe a new tack will help, these activists think.

The fake moral outrage is building. It’s getting bigger and bigger. The mainstream media are hyping it.

Instead of asking how Cruz’s dozens of failed encounters with local, state and federal law enforcement resulted in his massacre of his classmates, and instead of asking how the Obama-era PROMISE program deliberately shielded violent kids like Cruz (and Cruz specifically) from being held accountable and thus actually permitted him to get the gun and combine it with his publicly advertised lunatic fantasies, and instead of asking why gun control groups create the conditions for and then welcome these massacres so they get the blood in the streets that fuel their emotional appeals for more government control over free citizens, the whiners are blaming law-abiding gun owners, a civil rights organization (the NRA), and even inanimate objects (guns).

The NRA did not pull the trigger, Cruz did. The NRA did not create the “Gun Free Zone” filled with violent criminal students, the gun prohibitionists and Obama’s PROMISE program did. The gun did not kill those kids, Nikolas Cruz did.

And how does limiting law-abiding gun owners do anything against crime?

Law-abiding gun owners use guns every day to defend themselves and others from violent criminals. And yes, they even use AR15s.

Armed law enforcement officers actually stood outside the school, with their firearms drawn, listening to Cruz murder his classmates. They failed to intervene, and they could have easily killed or wounded Cruz and stopped his massacre. They had no idea what he was armed with, and in any event that is irrelevant: As Cruz walked through the Gun Free Zone with impunity, any armed person who showed up could have easily stood behind a wall or door and waited for Cruz to walk by, and then shot him. Or they could walk up behind him and shoot him.

These are all dramatic failures. Adult failures, government failures, bureaucrat failures. None of these have an atom in common with regular every-day gun owners across America or their chosen organization, the NRA.

I once worked with a deeply unhappy lady who would invent office conflicts and problems out of thin air, so she could then heroically swoop in and impose dramatic and totally fake solutions. No problems existed but what she had created, or simply alleged. No solutions were needed. But she was not after solutions, she was after control. And half the time she got it, through administrative acts or by sheer bullying. She apparently needed this process to satisfy a hurtful, dark craving in her soul, and only late in her career, long after she had committed tremendous damage to many people and the institution itself, did a brave boss eventually step in and end her tyranny.

Such a situation exists here and now with America’s gun prohibitionists.

They created the conditions for Parkland to occur, and they have hijacked this emotionally loaded and most avoidable massacre to suit their purpose of imposing an unpopular and unneeded solution.

Like the alcohol prohibitionists and racial segregationists before them, gun prohibitionists are control-freak fanatics who believe they are on a mission from God. Nothing they do is ever wrong, and every fakery they commit is acceptable, in their minds. The end-goal justifies every method, right or wrong, moral or immoral.

The gun prohibitionists bully and bluff their way into imposing a solution that has zero connection with the actual crime itself, or with the cause of the crime.

Hopefully regular Americans wake up and confront them, stop them, hold the failed bureaucrats accountable in Parkland and Broward County, and end the PROMISE program.

Stealing freedom from everyday Americans is not an answer, it is just one more big problem, leading to yet more problems.

One of the future problems is going to be a lot of young children scarred by the hype and fake moral outrage surrounding the Parkland events. God knows where that then goes. One answer is to send a bill to CeaseFirePA and its affiliates for all of the emotional counseling needed after their fake drama plays out with all these impressionable young kids.

These kids should be in school  on March 24th, not being used as cultural revolution cannon fodder by prohibitionist zealots.

Twenty-five years of sitting by the warm fire

Our family burns a lot of firewood every cold season. Usually beginning in late October and going through February, sometimes into March, we burn split oak 24 hours a day.

Nothing heats up a room better and takes the chill out of the air than a fire in a modern wood or coal stove, and nothing provides a better centralized gathering place for people to read, doze, study, or talk than a fire place or stove. It is a real comfort, and if we think about it, humans sitting by a comforting fire goes back what, 100,000 years? Or six thousand? Either way, a long time.

We are back at it once again today, tending a fire, having now endured Winter’s recent biting return without a fire the past week or so.  Something about this late season chill just works its way into the bones. Maybe we kind of let down our guard, anticipating Spring, eager to shed the heavy coats and boots, and enjoy the warm air and freedom to lounge outside once again. Whatever  the reason, the harsh cold issues a strong call for the fire today, and so we lit one. We will run it constantly until we are fully out of Winter’s grip, and enjoying the comfort of the warm sunlight.

There is another sort of fire, however, and this one will never die out.

It is the fire of human passion, and love, and friendship.

It is that kind of fire which two people share after twenty five years of happy marriage together.

Sure, there are some tough times along that twenty-five years, some hard words, some bruised feelings in that period. Birthing and then raising three kids in that time means some disagreement and frustration are inevitable. But these things are part and parcel of living a committed life. And in a way, resolving the disputes makes the fire hotter, Polonius’ hoops of steel stronger. There is no walking out or walking away, quitting when the going gets tough. There is only commitment, fire. Ebbing, flowing, sometimes blazing hot, sometimes a bed of coals, but always a lit fire.

As a much missed now-deceased life advisor used to say to me, two married people are like two knives, constantly rubbing against one another, sharpening one another’s blade. The knives are working tools, cutting through life, getting work done, and by working together side by side, they also continually sharpen each other’s blades, their cutting edges, the working parts. Once in a while they nick one another. That is just the nature of the tool, the nature of married life. The little nick goes with the territory of work.

It is a good analogy, good enough for me. Because when I look back on twenty-five years of good marriage, as marked today, I feel like we are both still sharp, the Princess of Patience still looks sharp, and our cutting edges are holding up strong.

Said  the other way, I have been sitting by a particular fire now for twenty-five years. Once in a while, while tending it, it has singed me, or given me a minor blister, reminding me of its inherent powerful force. Given that I am klutzy, it is logical that I earned those little burns.

But usually this fire is my friend, my best friend, in fact. I am looking forward to another twenty-five years of her warmth and comfort.

 

A plea for a small slice of reality

Marketing hype for any and all kinds of products has resulted in any and all kinds of hilarity, humor, bloopers, and ironies.

Hype, by its nature, kind of skirts facts and embellishes upon irrelevancies. Thus does hype almost inevitably lead to unintentional silliness.

For whatever reason, the outdoor sports are loaded with marketing hype.

Trail cameras are notoriously both marked by near-claims of X-Ray vision and simultaneous failures to perform their most basic functions.

Clothing that keeps your funky, unwashed armpits from making deer say “Uncle!” is another proven fraud.

The list goes on. I won’t belabor the list.

What really irks me are the male and female models used to promote outdoor gear, and specifically I mean hunting gear.

Cabelas, Bass Pro, Eddie Bauer, LL Bean, and many advertisers in Field & Stream magazine all use models for hunting gear who look nothing like hunters.

Probably universally, the guys are either effeminate, urban, slender professional model hipsters from NYC with a day-old facial hair growth, or they are occasionally hunting “stars” whose annoying braggadocio, bravado, machismo, and one-dimensional arrogance inspires mostly dismissiveness.

Neither of these model types fit the mold or image of real world hunters. Like me, probably you.

For example, I’m well overweight and struggle to make time to exercise, because being a husband, father, and small business owner all preclude time for developing hour-long fitness routines and pumped biceps.

And neither I nor any of my friends aspire to look effete, lanky, or effeminate. Our problem is probably that we don’t spend enough time cultivating our looks, complexions, or clothing fit, because these are unimportant sideshows in a life of meaning and real substance.

Hunting is, after all, about woodcraft, a conservation ethic, stealth, mastering one’s emotions, mastering firearms and bows, teaching our kids these skill sets with patience and love, and so on. Studly macho guys would be quickly drummed out of every group I hunt with. Hunting has zero to do with being macho.

So a simple plea here for reality: Use models who look like us Average Joes. We are much more likely to be interested in your products when you use people who actually look like us. Sinewy urban guys struggling to look male don’t interest us, and selfish guys who wear tinted contact lenses and who spend time on their biceps instead of their community don’t interest us, either.

It’s duck season! No it’s turkey season! No it’s rabbit season!

In addition to picking apples with the family, one of Fall’s greatest attributes is the abundance of hunting opportunities.

A friend sent me a photo of a huge buck he arrowed last week.  I am jealous of him because I have not yet had an opportunity to go bow hunt for deer.

Instead, I have been small game hunting, wild turkey hunting, duck hunting, and trapping.

So, it is not as if I have been missing out on the outdoor experience by failing to bow hunt.  The problem is that I’m in a frenetic whirlwind of other, related recreational pursuits, because Pennsylvania is blessed with an abundance of wildlife and healthy natural habitat.

Spending time with my kids and friends outside in this environment is one of the healthiest, safest, most wholesome activities anyone can do.  Hunting is safer than cheerleading, high school football, soccer, and baseball.  It gets my son’s face out of whatever handheld device is sucking out his brain at any given moment.

Successful or not, time afield is the best family time possible.

Here are some old favorite cartoons about hunting, and most important is the Duck Season, Rabbit Season, Duck Season! episode.

Bugs Bunny vs. Daffy Duck

Rabbit Season! Duck Season!

I brought my guns to school

Back in the 1970s, I brought my deer rifle to school on the bus.

It was locked in my school locker when I arrived at school on the bus. In its case.

No one made a big deal about it.

No one was hurt by my gun.

My biology teacher reloaded my 7mm Mauser shells for me.

I hunted after school with friends, and no one was hurt. We were all safe handlers of our firearms. We all took it seriously.

It now might be a time for Americans to recall a different time, a safer time, a time when Americans could not imagine using basic firearms to hurt one another. A time when deer rifles were as normal as new sneakers, as significant as new clothes. A high powered deer rifle meant that much, and that little.

So many Americans today wonder what happened to our nation. Well, quit treating traditional American values as inferior to the chaos, anarchy, and violence that have replaced them. Let us traditionalists come back. Let your kids demonstrate how responsible they are. Take comfort in the inherent strength of our nation and its traditions. Relax.

We gun owners are safe, responsible, and experienced. We have our own children who we cherish. We will do nothing to hurt our own children.

Guns, used safely, are safe.

 

Limbaugh wins award, “open-minded” educators show their best censorship

Last night, Rush Limbaugh received the Children’s Choice Book Award for author of the year, for his book “Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.”

Limbaugh defeated big-name writers Veronica Roth, Rick Riordan, and Jeff Kinney, who wrote “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” which my kids have all enjoyed for years.

Enter the “open-minded” educators across the web, who have much to say about this award going to Limbaugh.

The hate-filled, bigoted comments about author Rush Limbaugh say everything about the commenters and zero about Limbaugh.

“Hate-monger,” “fear – monger,” “foul-mouthed,” “bigot”…

From where do these folks get these ideas about Limbaugh? They have nothing to do with Limbaugh, but they sure appear to describe the commenters, who on every website seek censorship of Limbaugh and his political ideas, because they disagree with them.

Hey, folks, have you actually listened to Limbaugh or actually read his books? Are your opinions about Limbaugh based on what others have told you about him, say, political ideologues who oppose his beliefs? Why don’t you develop an opinion about Limbaugh that is based on your own experience?

And to the lady who wrote that kids are not rushing into her book store to buy the Rush Revere book, but rather it was adults buying it, let me ask you a question:  How many kids actually buy their own books?  Most children’s books are purchased by adults for the kids in their lives, a well-worn tradition by both the liberals and conservatives in my own family who want kids to enjoy reading.

Why are so many liberals so intolerant, and so incapable of allowing other people to speak?  Congratulations to Rush Limbaugh, a guy I agree with and disagree with.

Take a kid fishing

Tomorrow marks the beginning of trout season in Pennsylvania. It’s a big deal. Half the population is associated with it, either fishing, eating the fish, or cheering on the mighty hunters who bring home the bacon.

Our next generation needs a helping hand. Too many gadgets, electronics, virtual nothingness and digital pretend friends are separating kids from the beautiful reality surrounding them. They might grow up to think that water comes from the tap, heat from the wall thingy, and food from the grocery store. Fishing teaches crucial lessons about being a real human being, not the least of which is self reliance, a trait once quintessentially American and now considered quaint.

Fishing also teaches the importance of conserving natural resources for the future kids.

So take a kid fishing. You’ll be doing everyone a big favor, now and later.

 

Last day of summer…so sad

It is tough to know who enjoys summer time more, me or my kids. Every summer we emphasize time together camping, on day trips to historic sites, beach trips and saltwater fishing, and both day camp and sleepover camp. We spend lots of time together, and by the end of each summer I feel like a big kid.

I admit that it’s hard to say goodbye. But it’s necessary.