Trump Hated for Speaking the Truth


I was going to post this in Happy Warriors Ricochet group, but I think it deserves a wider audience. Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel nail it:

Throughout the impeachment drama, the press repeatedly told you that the president was a liar. They said his lies are why he had to be impeached. Donald Trump is a salesman; he is a talker, a booster, a compulsive self-promoter. If Trump hadn’t gotten rich in real estate, then he could’ve made a fortune selling cars. Most people know this.

Bumtowns on the Pacific


Over 30 years ago, I spent the better part of the summer working in San Francisco on a three-way merger of two private companies into one public company. This merger, in one single day, would create the dominant force in the then-hot environmental testing industry. And it would make many people very rich. (Alas, not me as a mere VP finance before SOX, but I was young and there were for me many future oysters yet to be opened; undoubtedly some would reveal pearls.) I lived in the new Hyatt downtown and worked with our investment bankers, accountants, and lawyers. There were ugly surprises, last-minute tantrums, delays, and demands. We were all sworn to secrecy, yet there were street rumors and unusual stock trades. Despite all this, a three-way deal was finally completed. Exhausted, I was able to retreat to Boston, to my wife and newborn daughter.

Exciting as all this was, it was still very, very difficult. There was tremendous distrust among the parties, much of it justified, and the deal was on and off again, sometimes, it seems, daily. But the prospect of millions in liquid public equity tends to buy at least temporary forgiveness, so the deal happened. The principals put their issues and feuds aside knowing that in a single stroke, they simply could choose not to care.

I was the facilitator, something I am preternaturally good at. Despite all the angst and ultimatum, I managed to enjoy my time in San Francisco. It was much like my native town of Boston, but smaller, cleaner with no discernible poverty. The neighborhoods were less insular and, other than Chinatown, less distinctively racial. It was a friendlier, more approachable Boston with generally better weather. You could walk anywhere and everywhere. I could see why someone would want to live in San Francisco.

‘Veni, Vici, Visa’


The above roguish little line is attributed to Jan Barrett who playfully translated it into, “We came, we saw, we went shopping.” And of course, in my current line of work, that is exactly what we hope you will do. We have a great many enticements, of course, from lines of credit, to tantalizing price reductions, to a staff of professional sales associates who pride themselves on going the extra mile to make sure your experience exceeds your greatest expectations.

To that end, there is little we won’t do (including to ourselves) to help you. Of course, going the extra one or two hundred thousand miles doesn’t come without cost. The toll it takes on sales associates, who increasingly look and feel like the walking dead as the holiday season progresses, is very real. And it isn’t just the physical toll, though being on one’s feet and dealing with the general public for nine or ten hours a day, through extended store hours, for weeks on end, certainly exacts a high price in terms of aches and pains and muscle cramps. But it’s the mental toll that is perhaps even more grueling.

“Good breeding,” observed Mark Twain, “consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.” This is what prevents an associate from asking a customer who trashes a fitting room (by leaving new clothing in a pile on the floor, turned inside out and with price tags ripped off) if they were raised in a barn — by the livestock. It was good breeding and presumably a healthy sense of decorum, that prevented one associate who was being tersely upbraided by a rather snippy little man for failing to arrange a display of men’s silky satiny underwear just…exactly….so, from observing that the problem didn’t actually reside with any knots in the drawers that were on display. Sometimes good breeding consists of nearly biting one’s tongue off.

Memories: The Workbench


Had a couple of dreams last night. They were the first dreams of or about my father that I’ve had since he died in June. One of them was about his workbench. In the dream, the workbench was different than it was in real life, and of course, there were strange bits of non-history in the dream. That’s just how dreams flow.

When my parents were young and struggling, before I was even born, my father built a couch. It was much cheaper than buying one, and it served their needs for several years. It was a fairly simple affair. It had an L-shaped base made from something that looked like a couple of old solid-wood doors joined together with legs that were perhaps eight inches to a foot high placed around it. That made a flat base. Then there were two large, flat cushions with a sort of plastic cover on the base and two longer wedge-profile cushions that made up the back of the couch. That was it. I wish I could describe the cushion covers better. On the exposed sides, they were a sort of mottled red. On the other sides, it was similarly mottled gray trying to be white or silver. It was the early 1960s and, for a young couple with little boys, it was serviceable.

A Day in the Wood Shop


It’s been unseasonably warm in Western Kentucky, where highs have been soaring into the high 60s for the last few days. After visiting family yesterday, I was able to get some time alone in the wood shop today–in a t-shirt and jeans, no less! There’s an empty spot next to the dishwasher that would make a nice spot for some open cabinets, a place to put iron skillets and cake pans.  Today, I thought, would be a fine day to tackle this project.

Before I go any further, I feel I must tell you something: I am a lousy carpenter. Don’t get me wrong; the stuff I make holds up. I’ve built barns, decks, bookshelves, and the kind of rough stuff that all hillbillies know how to make. The stuff I make, though, is the product of painful hours of trial and error. The work is often rough and uneven, with supports put in to cover up weakness, not prevent them. My barn is a hodgepodge of reused planking, old telephone poles, and metal I tore off another failed barn. I walk up my deck every afternoon and see the litany of mistakes I made pouring the footers and laying the decking. Sometimes, I wonder if I have ever nailed a true 90° angle in my entire life.

I have never quite got found that precarious balance between beauty and function that real carpenters have. I have a great deal of admiration for those folks, the ones that can transform raw lumber into beautiful cabinets and kitchen tables. Their level of skill and knowledge is something akin to alchemy, especially in contrast to my own meager skills.

Day Two of Twelve: Why Turtle Doves?


For Catholics, the Christmas liturgical season is just getting started. We’re only on day two! Christmas lasts from December 25th to January 6th, when we celebrate Epiphany, the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles represented by the Magi.

In England, from 1558 to 1829, it was illegal to be Catholic, not just to privately practice the faith. The Twelve Days of Christmas developed during this time as a coded Catechism to teach the faith to children. 

Three Important Hanukkah Messages


Two messages by President Trump, and one exceptional video message from Prime Minister Johnson, set the right tone for the two nations’ recognition of a minority faith that has been under increasing assault. President Trump, having earlier held an annual Hanukkah reception, at which he signed a significant executive order to combat universities increasingly open anti-Semitism, published a warm presidential message on Hanukkah 2019. Yet, this year, it was Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Chanukah message that cut to the heart of the history and current problems in the United Kingdom. In the context of Labour being rejected by the British people, in significant part due to the exceptionally nasty piece of work leading that party, Jeremy Corbyn, PM Johnston spoke strongly and plainly about the right of British Jews to be both, publicly, without fear of harassment or worse.

Note that this video, like the one below, is official. 10 Downing Street is the official YouTube channel of the British Prime Minister, as White House is the official YouTube channel of the President of the United States.

Quote of the Day: Goodness and Mercy


Don't be Chikin Fill Red KettleThe Salvation Army Mission Statement

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

Because the Salvation Army actually holds to this mission statement, they are able to do the most real good with every dollar you give them. Because the Salvation Army actually holds to this mission statement, they are hated. Because the Salvation Army holds to this mission statement, other organizations’ reactions to the Salvation Army reveal much about those other organizations. People of any or no religious faith can count on their donations actually being put to use to relieve hunger, addiction, and disaster because the officers of the Salvation Army take orders from something higher than self or the spirit of the age.

Pot, Meet Kettle


Pot and KettleI came across an interesting thread on Twitter. The FBI claimed, and the IG confirmed, that there was sufficient reason to initiate the investigation into Trump/Russia collusion (adequate predication). But all they had was a suggestion to Papadopoulos from a guy whose affiliation is now questionable (Mifsud is more likely to be a western operative than a Russian one), and maybe, though the FBI denies it, the early Steele information as of July 5, 2016 (Horowitz Report Pg 95—-Pg 129 of PDF). That was pretty thin. And in the end, they found no collusion.

But if that can justify an investigation, then why not the fact that the Russians (or maybe the Ukrainians too?) were colluding with the Hillary Campaign through Steele, Fusion GPS, and Perkins Coie to disparage Trump? And we now know that actually happened!

The Worker in Sandalwood


(Majorie Pickthall was a Canadian writer. She was born in England in 1883 and moved to Canada when she was seven. She was thirty-eight when she died in Vancouver in 1922

I came across this story in an English Lit course in college. It wasn’t part of our assigned reading. It was just a delightful discovery – my reward, I suppose, for poking around in the rest of the textbook. I’ve shared this story many times over the years since, including here. This is a forgotten story. It is out of print and it’s not even listed among her works in her Wikipedia entry. It shouldn’t be forgotten.

Boris Johnson Speaks, and It Isn’t All Greek to Me


On Christmas Eve, Powerline Blog pointed to Boris Johnson reciting a long passage from the Iliad, in ancient Greek, not as a schoolboy might, but as the great storyteller. This should not have been much of a surprise, given other appearances over the past few years by the man who is now Prime Minister. What follows is a Boris Johnson starter sampler.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson turned to reciting the Iliad in the course of a conversation with the Australian Broadcasting Company’s Annabel Crabb at the Melbourne Writers Festival this past July.

Bah, Humbug! on Lemon Grove Drive


We live on a cul-de-sac with 17 homes and our street is famous in the community. We are the street with incredible Christmas lights (with a touch of Hanukkah decorations). We have also offered cookies and hot chocolate on two consecutive nights in December, letting the community know with signs set up at the end of the street when we will be offering them. But this year the occasion was compromised by ridiculous rumors and the bad behavior of those who came. My neighbors are up in arms by how we were treated by those who visited us.

The difficulties seemed to fall into two categories: rumors and bad behavior. The rumors would have been very funny if they weren’t so outrageous. In truth, we have purchased all the decorations and put them up ourselves, and have found some generous folks who are snowbirds who have let us store them in their garages. What are the rumors? To buy a house on this street will cost a buyer $10,000 for their portion of the cost to have the decorations installed; the developer pays someone to put up the decorations on our street; the developer provides storage for our decorations; everyone on the street must bake cookies, and they have to be chocolate chip cookies (although this one would be okay with me). There are probably other rumors drifting around. I’ve heard some of them in the past, but this year they were especially silly.

What about the bad behavior of visitors? Someone said the dates we chose to give away cookies was inconvenient, and we should do it on a different day; another said we should do it at a different time; some asked why we didn’t offer a certain cookie that we had last year; others asked if we had cookies for the dogs that they brought with them. One person thought the decorations were all so nice, except for the large Jewish star in front of one home. (She didn’t realize she was telling my neighbor who put up the star.)

Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 9): The Phoenix and the Flame


The Phoenix wheezed as it flapped slowly higher over the volcano, sparks trailing from its side like liquid drops of light. Molting feathers shimmered red and gold as they spiraled down to the ground and burst into flame. Not much further now …

As it rose over the rim of the volcano, the phoenix looked down – and saw only cold black rock. No lava, no healing fire and warmth. The volcano was dead. Not just dormant, but never coming back. And the phoenix … was dying. And not a cloud in the sky …

Hanukkah at Mt. Vernon


For Jews on Christmas there are really only two options: a movie and Chinese food. Relatively new to the D.C. area, we learned this year that there’s a third available to us here: George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon. His home is a major tourist attraction, and is opened 365 days a year, whereas every other attraction is (justifiably) closed on Christmas. We have four very young kids, and decided a day spent outdoors at Mt. Vernon in 50 degrees was a better idea than the traditional Jewish tradition at the movies.

While we were there, everyone wished us a Happy Hanukkah, and went out of their way to do so. As we sat along the Potomac, I broke out my favorite Hanukkah read-aloud, Hanukkah at Valley Forge, about how the General learned about the story of Hanukkah while spending a long, cold winter mired in conflict and miserable conditions at Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War.

Quote of the Day: Free Exchange Requires Grappling with Transcendence


The wise person possesses “knowledge of the fulfillment of human destiny in the beyond.” Ignorance of this fulfillment is not your ordinary ignorance—nor ordinary stupidity—but foolishness: the state of ignorance about the fundamental human things, which is to say, the transcendent things. To be ignorant of the transcendent is to be foolish regarding the human, and the “rational discussion of order in the existence of man and society is possible only under the condition of knowing about transcendent fulfillment.” When such knowledge is lacking, discussion will be dominated by a kind of ignorant foolishness, evidenced by “a lack of readiness to discuss, the fundamental reason for which is the unwillingness of the interlocutors to be drawn into the problematic of the transcendent.” — R.J. Snell, Free Speech Cannot Save Us, in Public Discourse

Snell’s article is concerned with the state of foolishness at our universities and how it translates, unhappily, into broader society. For many of us of a certain age and few younger people who’ve joined us on the Right, “foolish” is the best descriptor of the woke among us. “Foolish” doesn’t imply unintelligent or even unsuccessful. Barack Obama is neither of those things, but I believe him to be deeply unwise. Why?

Merry Christmas


The Magnificat (Latin for “[My soul] magnifies [the Lord]”) is a canticle, also known as the Song of Mary, the Canticle of Mary and, in the Byzantine tradition, the Ode of the Theotokos. It is traditionally incorporated into the liturgical services of the Catholic Church (at vespers) and of the Eastern Orthodox churches (at the morning services). It is one of the eight most ancient Christian hymns and perhaps the earliest Marian hymn. Its name comes from the incipit of the Latin version of the canticle’s text. The Magnificat, taken from Luke’s Gospel -1:46-55

My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is His name;
And His mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear Him.
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.

Back to the Pews


In honor of this special day, I thought I’d write a brief (edit: I tried to keep it brief, I really did!) response to a post @westernchauvinist put together some time ago. Here, she asked the Ricochetti what it would take to bring them back to church. Though it elicited many thoughts at the time, I’m finally getting back to you, WC.

Excepting the funeral masses I’ve worked this year, this has been the first I attended all year – before I’m accused of being one of those who steals the seats of you regular attendees during the holidays, I’ll admit that I haven’t gone to a Christmas Mass in years. I wasn’t raised in the Catholic Church, but I’ve known for some time that the church of my mother’s family is the one I belong to, and that any return to a hospital for sinners would be to a Catholic hospital.

A Real Christmas Message from a British Prime Minister


While British Prime Minister Boris Johnson first bowed before the altar of the NHS, above and before the police and fire services, and placed the British military members* and their families last, as has been true since Kipling wrote “Tommy,” it is remarkable that he called Christmas for what it is, a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and especially called attention to the worldwide plight of persecuted Christians, many celebrating Christmas in prison cells! This prime minister, with his clear governing majority, pledged “as Prime Minister, that is something I want to change.” He also offered timely and sage advice to everyone around the world, urging domestic peace and goodwill: “Try not to have too many arguments with the in-laws, or anyone else.”

Here is the official transcript:

Memories: The Engagement Christmas Dinner


In the fall of 1976, Janet finally accepted my proposal of marriage. (It was definitely proof of the power of persistence. She simply did not understand why anyone would marry her.) We set a date for the May of the following year, by which time I would have gotten my engineering degree, and we could live happily ever after.

We were the first children in either family to decide to marry. (Her brother has avoided it completely. Mine married in the following decade.) Which meant Christmas was Family Inspection Time. By both families, as both sets of parents lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Not the local relatives. We had been going together for several years already and both of us were known to the other’s family even before we were dating as Janet was the kid sister of one of my close high school friends. Rather, it was the opportunity for out-of-town relatives to inspect the potential new addition to the family.

Quote of the Day: Childlike Innocence


“There’s nothing sadder in this world than to wake Christmas morning and not be a child.” — Erma Bombeck

“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” — Jesus the Christ (Mark 10:15)

If You Are Sad This Hanukah, Christmas, and Holiday Season


We all know how losing a friend or family member is devastating.

About the only thing as bad as losing a friend or family member, is having the grief surrounding that loss be draped across your Entire Being during Hanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s. All around you are brightly lit stores and homes, festive activities on the Church, synagogue, and school calendars, plus parties at work and over at neighbors’ and friends’ homes.