Advice for Parents of College Kids on Sex Scandals

 

After seven years in the higher-ed administration industry, during which I largely dealt with “Title IX” issues, and having largely shepherded my own kids through college unscathed, I now have nieces and nephews on their way into the Octagon that is college life today. I doubt I’ll have a chance to tell them what they need to know, but I might be able to tell their parents.

I want to write something that explains to them what is happening on campuses today, the dangers it poses to their kids, and what they can do to make themselves safe. I’d start with four suppositions:

1. College-age kids, on the whole, have been raised with the assumption that men and women view sex the same way, as the goal of any relationship;

2. College-age kids have been raised in a culture drenched in pornography, and as a result, have very strange ideas about the nature of sexual relationships between adults;

3. Supposition No. 1 notwithstanding, college-age women, in particular, have been raised to believe that sex is scary and dangerous; and

4. College-age kids today have been denied, by overprotective parents, the opportunity to develop the skills needed to negotiate their way through the tangles of human relationships.

This is a recipe for disaster. If you throw raging hormones and free-flowing alcohol into the mix, and toss in the occasional sociopathic predator who hunts for those who are weak and disabled by booze, you will, in the end, find all the tragedy you might want.

Finally, if you add in the belief, apparently common among those coming of age today, that nothing is their own fault and anything bad has to be fixed for them, and for good measure toss in strict instructions to colleges from the Department of Education demanding that they do, in fact, fix anything bad related to sex, because bad things related to sex are seen as discrimination on the basis of sex … well, things get very, very toxic. And kids are not prepared for it.

So, how do you keep your kids from becoming the victim of this toxic culture or the sex police we’ve set up to deal with it? What can we teach them that will keep them safe when we send them off to college? To figure that out, we have to take a look at what leads to the typical Title IX claims of sexual assault, non-consensual sex, stalking, and so on. The variations are endless, but there are a few basic fact patterns.

The single most common complaint by students against students is this: a young woman walks into the Title IX office at her school and announces, “this creepy guy keeps talking to me.” Creepy Guy is a fellow student. They are probably in a class together. The girl probably initiated the relationship by striking up a conversation with this harmless-looking fellow. Creepy Guy is usually socially awkward, sometimes on the autism spectrum, unused to relating to women, unsure of how to proceed but, given that she showed some interest, desperate to do so. He overplays his hand and comes on a little strong, or keeps trying after she initially rebuffs his advances. This makes Creepy Guy, in modern eyes, practically a serial killer. The girl, therefore, is now afraid. The fact that she is afraid, regardless of whether it is reasonable, turns “this creepy guy keeps talking to me” into a claim of sexual harassment or assault, or stalking, under federal law as interpreted by the Department of Education. Cases following this basic fact pattern probably account for a quarter of all incidents reported to Title IX offices.

The second-most common fact pattern involves alcohol consumption leading to apparently consensual sexual activities. The complainant, in heterosexual hook-ups this is almost invariably the girl, is extremely upset that this happened, and claims she was not capable of consenting because she was incapacitated by alcohol. The law in most states and most school policies define incapacitation as a level of intoxication beyond mere drunkenness; intoxication, in fact, to the point of losing the ability to understand where one is and what one is doing. However, common usage among college women seems to define incapacitation as that level of drunkenness where one is likely to do something one wouldn’t do while sober. The allegation that incapacitation rendered the consent invalid must, under federal rules, be investigated. The respondent, almost invariably the boy, is now facing an investigation into an alleged violation of the school’s Title IX policy, and the local police may also be investigating it as a rape. The complainant may demand that the Respondent be removed from campus while the investigation is pending so that the complainant is not made to feel unsafe by the presence of her rapist.

If you are already in this situation, get a lawyer, one who knows this field. But what can you tell your children to help them avoid getting there? I’d like to hear what the Ricochet community thinks. Trust me, I’ve already got “keep it in your pants” and “don’t get sh*t-faced drunk with strangers” covered. I’d like to hear other suggestions, or hear your questions or comments. I think best, and write best, when I am responding to others. Please help me out here.

Red or Green?

 

“Red or green?” A seemingly odd question coming from your waiter or waitress. Just about anywhere else, but New Mexico, where it is, in fact, the official State Question.

It refers to these guys, and is asking which one you want smothering your food: red and green chile. They’re the same thing, except the red has been allowed to ripen before harvesting.

Not “chillies,” “peppers,” or “chilis.” And they are a way of life around here.

Chile grow natively here, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that researchers at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces created a hybrid variety that was actually mild enough to eat. Called the “Big Jim,” that chile is the grandfather of all New Mexico chile.

When I say that chile is a way of life around here, I mean it. We put chile on eggs, hamburgers, pizza, beans … pretty much everything. Including, of course, tacos and burritos.

Unlike many Asian chillies and real firestorms like Ghost Peppers and Scotch Bonnets, New Mexico chile aren’t exceedingly hot. (At least, we New Mexicans don’t think so.) But they are flavorful, which is why we love them so much. (New Mexico grows the vast majority of the world’s chile, and we keep 80% of it for ourselves!)

Until relatively recently, it was impossible to get green or red chile outside of this state, but these days, grocers like HEB and Wegman’s are trucking in shipments of fresh chile in August, so you might be able to get some fresh chile and roast them yourself. Otherwise, you’ll have to content yourself with powdered or frozen chile from Amazon or these guys.

Once you get some, you can try out the helpful recipes in the comments, which are some of my favorites.

There Is, Indeed, Justice

 

A play about the Clintons closed early on Broadway due to low ticket sales. How did such a production even make it to Broadway in the first place?

On the same day that the Department of State finds multiple violations in Hillary’s handling of emails on her unauthorized server.

Keep them coming, I say!

Ladies and Gentlemen: Once Again, It. Is. On.

 

Today was the opening ceremony for Fuerzas Comando 19. This year, the competition will be held in Chile. Special Operators from about 19 countries from the Caribbean, the US, and Central and South America will square off to see who will be the Fuerzas Commando champion.

It’s a week of suck. Don’t come if you don’t want to hurt. You can follow the competition on Facebook via the SOCSOUTH page.

I’ve posted this before, and I’ll do it again. If I can keep up, I’ll post updates here.

Probably the best FC promo made, and not just because it’s got a little Mongo in it.

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What’s Hiding Under the FEC Chair Oppo Research Rock?

 

Turns out there’s more to the whole opposition research thing than critics of President Trump’s remarks to George Stephanopoulos perhaps realized. I don’t expect George or colleagues like him to express much, if any, curiosity and go investigate, but here at Ricochet, we like to know what’s underneath the rocks.

Some background: As has been mentioned in other thread comments, Senator Mitt Romney in particular voiced strong criticism of President Trump’s saying he would listen to information (aka “dirt,” “oppo research”) provided by a foreign entity, though I have not seen in Romney’s comments acknowledgment of POTUS’ saying he would hand over something illegal to authorities. Seems to me if members of Congress like Pelosi, Schumer, Romney, et al., have major concerns about politicians accepting information from foreign entities they are the perfect individuals to take the perfect action to address the problem: pass a law. Be sure to include law firms acting on behalf of politicians, and policy-making committee members who meet with lobbyists on behalf of foreign governments and encourage off-line communications. (Note to White House and Capitol Hill: maybe y’all in Washington DC could start with an honest, adult conversation about the problems associated with constant campaigning y’all have?)

Back to the lead: Turns out FEC Chair Ms. Weintraub, who worked at the firm Perkins Coie before going to the FEC, has had a complaint received October 2017 against the DNC and HRC campaign for paying Perkins Coie millions marked as “legal services” which actually went to Fusion GPS for…drum roll…opposition research. Opposition research which its author claimed had foreign sources as Byron York recently reminded.

To recap: The head of the FEC has had a complaint for 20 months involving the firm she worked for laundering oppo research containing claims by foreigners. And she issued a statement aimed at condemning the opposing campaign which did not pay for opposition research in the 2016 campaign and has differentiated between garden variety oppo research and illegal activity.

The danger to our republic (not a democracy, Mitt) has not been from a president being corrupted by foreign intelligence, but corrupt government officials ignoring corrupt politicians committing corrupt acts to convince corrupt law enforcement officers to use corrupt oppo to corrupt Foreign Intelligence courts to subvert civil liberties granted to US citizens by the US Constitution.

That Type of Guy

 

The only thing wrong with masculinity is its absence.

This is not a popular position, but it’s true even if the cultural surrender class would have us believe otherwise. Oppose them, because they’re dangerous. Men by nature are as God designed them: Capable of frightening strength, coupled with a capacity for tenderness. The perversion of either asset creates something foul — a monster on one hand, the paralysis of inaction on the other. Nobody needs that type of guy.

I’m grateful for dangerous men when they’re using that power in defense of something. Soldiers are dangerous; so are the guys willing to holler “Leave her alone” at an abusive man from across the parking lot. Stepping into a volatile situation can get you shot, or beat up, or embarrassed. It’s much easier to keep quiet, maybe pull out your phone and call the cops. That might be a good rule of thumb — Don’t be a hero, they say. It’s the safe way to go, but I appreciate fierce men because the world needs heroes, and heroes are not always safe. In fact, we need them to be dangerous.

Dangerous men are a nightmare for their enemies. They weren’t born that way — somewhere in the timeline, perfectly docile young boys were taught the reality that a bully needs put in his place for the good of the schoolyard, because villains are being raised too. Every neighborhood or village on earth is teeming with boys either learning how to master their innate ability to be fierce, or to deny it. Some will use it properly, others will pervert it, but we need the types of guys who embrace and harness it. Men need to teach them how.

I too was taught that toxic masculinity is an awful thing, but it should be defined as an inability or unwillingness to man up, to cower in the face of challenges or to consider self-preservation a virtue. I have a problem with policies that encourage inaction. For instance, there are few things I find more toxic than encouraging a man to run and hide when someone is shooting.

A few years ago my employer instructed me to watch a training video of an active shooter situation. The video showed a man walk into a building’s lobby, shoot a security guard, and then walk from room to room shooting as he went. The proper responses according to the video: lock doors, run for exits, or hide. I’ve seen others where they make a cursory suggestion at maybe fighting if you’re cornered, when everyone else is presumably already dead.

I suppose if I were instructing a room full of children, maybe even women, this might be the way to go. But my first thought when watching that video was, “Where is the guy willing to throw a chair at him?” An office is a treasure trove of weapons, like fire extinguishers, scalding hot water, even scissors if it gets up close and personal. I’ve always operated under the assumption that planned responses are great when the scenario is hypothetical or the situation is static. Once the bullets start flying all bets are off, though. Either someone steps up and eliminates the threat, or people die. And the longer they wait, the more dead bodies.

How about this instead?

Scenario: Shooter begins roaming and shooting.

Question: Are you a child, or physically unfit to defend yourself?
If the answer is yes — Run or hide.
If not — Prepare to defend life, starting with others and ending with yourself.

The experts will say untrained individuals are not equipped to confront threats. I agree, so let’s train them to fight instead of run. What if everyone was trained to grab a projectile weapon at the first sound of gunfire?

That seems simple to me, and of all my friends you might say I’m the least fierce in any room. I’m a writer. A perfect day for me would be waking up in my own bed next to my wife, spending all day reading books and drinking coffee. Maybe watch a football game or a nerdy movie. Go out for Chinese food and end the night with more of the same, plus ice cream. Fierce, huh?

I live in Alaska and own guns, but I don’t hunt or fish. I even own a legit hunting bow. Why don’t I use it? Because I’m not into slogging around the wet alder bushes and sleeping in a tent on single digit nights with other guys for a week. I don’t desire moose that much. But I applaud those who do, so long as their families are in agreement. When it comes to outdoorsy high-octane stuff, I’m just not that type of guy.

I wear nerd t-shirts. I get irritated with outdated fonts. I’d rather hold a sleeping newborn than a fly rod, and I’m not into men’s conferences but I love to mentor. I love to challenge guys to do hard things, to make difficult choices that reveal vulnerability and risk self in pursuit of honoring others. This is the flip-side of the coin. We need men willing to kick in the door and clear the room of hostiles, but we also need them to yield and be sensitive to the ones counting on them. Good men know there is a time to fight and a time to submit, and I don’t want to be the type of guy who does too much of either.

A friend of mine once noticed a shoplifter running out of a store. He could have minded his own business, maybe should have, but instead, he took him down and held him till security took over. Another guy I know once broke the window of a pickup in order to apprehend a known felon the police were looking for. These are violent actions performed by dangerous men, but here’s the thing: Neither of them would ever harm another intentionally. They act when action is needed. Would you? Will I?

I once had a conversation with a guy about United 93, one of the four aircraft hijacked on 9/11. He asked whether I would have been among the passengers to storm the cockpit and take on the terrorists. I told him then what I’ll say now: I like to think so. It’s possible that fear or excuses may have kept me in my seat, but I can say for certain I wasn’t raised that way. I hope that in those moments, my five boys will be willing to do the dangerous thing, even unto death, because somebody has to. And I want for them what I hope is true about me — we are that type of guy.

Why Study War?

 

An astute observation by Victor Davis Hansen, supported by an excellent quote from J. S. Mill:

Western societies have often proved reluctant to use force to prevent greater future violence. “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things,” observed the British philosopher John Stuart Mill. “The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.” [Read more here.]

Hat tip to Power Line Blog

The linked article is a thorough and detailed answer, which also concludes with a large selection of “best in class” books on various sub-genre of war books.

Congrats to Gary Woodland

 

This is Gary Woodland, this year’s US Open champion together with Special Olympian, Amy Bockerstette from earlier this year. Congrats on your win, Gary. You’re a champion in more than just golf!

Here’s Amy’s tweet to Gary before he tee’d off for his final round at Pebble Beach today:

Final moments of the US Open:

And other highlights from today:

Life and Death: A Balancing Act

 

Death, or the specter of death, has been weighing on my life lately. It feels like a weight that I am able to carry, but one that is sometimes oppressive.

I first noticed it around D-Day. Normally I try to take these events in stride. After all, life and death are inextricable partners, no matter how difficult they may seem. But the thought of soldiers dying in huge numbers, and their leaders knowing that they would likely be sacrificing their lives, was a sad awareness that still lingers.

Then there are those events closer to home, in space and time. Those soldiers who are in the military risking their lives every day. Or the people in Congo who are once again dying from Ebola, primarily because terrorists won’t allow them to get treatment.

Even more present are the people directly in my life. Those I serve in hospice care. Or my friends in Thailand, one of whom will probably need to have her feet amputated due to her lack of care for diabetes. Or a neighbor who was in great health, had a stent put in, experienced pain and was told that it was probably due to the surgery, and 24 hours later was diagnosed with a heart attack. (His condition is improving, but he will probably have permanent heart damage.)

So it is easy to be caught up in the death side of the equation. But an equation, after all, has two sides. And we betray our own lives when we do not recognize the “life” side of the calculation.

How am I working with that? I celebrate those young soldiers of D-Day who showed amazing courage and dedication to give their lives for their country. I am beyond grateful for those men and women who serve in our military today, often leaving family and friends behind, because they are called to protect all of us. I can’t imagine that kind of dedication and am humbled and honored by their commitment. The people in Congo are at least being served by a brave contingent of medical personnel from all over the world who are willing to defy those who would let their countrymen die because of their hateful and bigoted views. And my hospice friends—and they often become friends—one who has dementia, but somehow remembers me when I visit; one with whom I watch Family Feud, our primary way to communicate and commiserate; and one caretaker who appreciates my giving her time off so she can go to a weekly meeting that is important to her. The friend in Thailand—I mainly am deeply saddened, because there is no good ending for her; she is a reminder of the ways that our fear of the unknown can cripple us, literally, when we choose not to act. And my friend who had the heart attack: he’s a resilient, active guy. I expect he will defy any odds and come back full tilt to embrace his life of golf and bicycle riding. His faith will carry him through.

So the shadow of death that has colored my daily life is receding. It will always be there, since it is most truly a part of life. But rather than weighing on me as a burden, it will rest on my shoulder as a reminder:

Every day we must celebrate life.

Pride Month and Father’s Day

 

Sunday was Father’s Day and June is Pride month. Until a few years ago, I’d have found nothing particularly incongruous about that conjunction: there is nothing about the celebration of one’s sexual preference, however odd it may be to call that “pride,” that precludes, obfuscates, or undermines an appreciation of the role fathers play in the lives of their children and their value to society.

But times change, and not always for the better.

Today, the LGB community, those people who are, to varying degrees, attracted sexually to members of their own sex, has chosen to associate itself with a distinctly different group, those who embrace one or another form of gender-identity fantasy or delusion: That’s what the T in LGBT refers to.

I’m sympathetic to homosexuals, as we used to call people who experience strong same-sex attraction. (I think it’s no longer considered appropriate to use the term, but I’m nothing if not no slave to fashion. Parse that at your leisure.) Attraction, whether to members of one’s own sex or the more quotidian kind, is what it is, and I’m perfectly willing to believe that it isn’t something one can change even if one wishes one could. I’m glad that being gay or lesbian is legal, tolerated, and accepted.

I’m sympathetic as well to those who suffer one or another form of gender dysphoria, who imagine or wish themselves to be of a different sex, or who are so confused about the nature of sexuality as to imagine that there’s a meaningful category of human sexual identity that is neither male nor female. People suffer all kinds of emotional and psychological troubles, and their suffering is real.

But the so-called trans movement is nonsense, the self-righteous pouring of gasoline on to the sputtering psychoses of true gender confusion. That it has been elevated to the level of a fad and given a patina of the same victimhood status to which the homosexual community could once lay legitimate claim, is a sign of the narcissistic unseriousness of our time.

The gender identity movement, the trans movement, is a self-contradictory celebration of inchoate and childish urges, of the desire to make it so by wishing it so. The pursuit of its confused fantasy of sexual mutability, of parallel universes of ever more contrived sexual identity, necessitates the abnegation of the simple truth of sexual reality: that there is male and female, man and woman, and, barring a handful of ambiguously and unfortunately malformed individuals, nothing else.

The world can not gracefully accommodate both physiological reality and gender-identity fantasy, and neither can the culture. Unfortunately, the levers of popular culture are in the hands of deeply unserious people, and so the tide of opinion favors the fantastic over the actual.

Which brings us to Father’s Day. The point of this holiday is the recognition that being a father matters; that men have something unique to offer, that masculinity is distinct from femininity, distinct and valuable. That claim is incompatible with the spiraling nonsense of the trans movement.

My favorite band will play at my favorite bar this week in celebration of Pride month. I’d go if it were merely an LGB event. But the trans thing is stupid, is on the march, and has to be opposed by people who think Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are acknowledgments of something non-trivial.

Is the Pope Catholic? Or, is he a Gaiaist?

 

It used to be that a witty way to say “yes” was to instead answer “Is the Pope Catholic?”. Funny stuff, because there was nothing more certain than that. But after Friday’s speech on global warming, I am really starting to wonder. 

Global warming alarmism is a religion. It has a deity (Gaia); it has a shared collection of transcendental beliefs; it has an apocalyptic end-times story; and it has many fervent believers, converts, and adherents. It also has non-believers (skeptics) and heretics (deniers) that are condemned by the virtuous. “Don’t you believe in climate change?” is how they challenge outsiders.

In the Friday speech, Pope Francis preached on how we must repent:

“that only one decade or so remains in order to achieve this confinement of global warming… time is running out! The climate crisis requires ‘our decisive action, here and now’ and the Church is fully committed to playing her part.”

He further preached on atonement:

“Carbon pricing is essential if humanity is to use the resources of creation wisely…The failure to deal with carbon emissions has incurred a vast debt that will now have to be repaid with interest by those coming after us. Our use of the world’s natural resources can only be considered ethical when the economic and social costs of using them are transparently recognized and are fully borne by those who incur them, rather than by other people or future generations.”

All of this has left me confused. I know that Pope Urban VII put Galileo under house arrest for questioning heliocentric teachings. The Church officially apologized for that in 1992. I know that Bro. Gregor Mendel is considered the father of genetic science. It seemed like the Catholic Church had managed to harmonize science with scripture, but then Pope Francis had to go all Beto with the Gaia thing. Now, if someone jokes, “Is the Pope Catholic?” I can only wonder….

 

 

 

Where are the Whistleblowers?

 

As high-tech companies prepare to help the political Left dominate pre-election rhetoric, they will likely ramp up their efforts to silence the Right, especially on controversial issues like abortion. One young man decided not to stand by and immediately lost his job as a result.

Eric Cochran was a technical employee at Pinterest. He contacted Project Veritas when he saw that a staff member of Pinterest had listed an anti-abortion site, Live Action, on the Pinterest pornographic list:

I did this because I saw wrongdoing and the normalization of censorship within Big Tech companies right now is downright un-American. And I saw this as the fight for abortion. I saw a Big Tech company saying … behind closed doors that they believe that Live Action shouldn’t have a platform to speak, and the big thing is: I want them to have to … say this publicly instead of behind closed doors.

Cochran shared his thoughts with Tucker Carlson after Carlson learned that Cochran was fired without notice and escorted from his office.

Facebook and Twitter have already been called out for censoring posts from people on the Right. We’ve seen our own Ricochet members suspended or removed from those sites without explanation. Twitter won’t sell advertisements to Live Action, who apparently has experienced “detrimental treatment” from Google and YouTube.

After Project Veritas contacted Pinterest regarding Live Action’s being placed on their porn list, they were removed from that list. Hours later, though, Live Action’s Lilah Rose got an email saying it had been suspended:

‘Your account was permanently suspended because its contents went against our policies on misinformation,’ said the email provided by Rose. ‘We don’t allow harmful misinformation on Pinterest. That includes medical misinformation and conspiracies that turn individuals and facilities into targets for harassment or violence.’

I realize that Eric Cochran has made a personal sacrifice. We don’t know how difficult a time he will have finding another job; I doubt that he’ll find one in the tech companies who are politically Left, or any company that might be leery about whistleblowers. I hope that there are other courageous people in the tech world who are seeing these attacks on free speech and acts of censorship who will be willing to speak up. If enough of them took action, it would be difficult to fire all of them!

Cochran called out to his colleagues who might be willing to speak up:

Cochran said he believes this is a ‘watershed’ moment,’ and that he hopes other pro-lifers at tech companies will come forward, forcing their employers to explicitly say they are pro-abortion so the public knows their political stances.

‘Now they are in full cover-up mode as they try to protect their pro-abortion stances,’ he said. ‘Now with YouTube doing Pinterest’s bidding by removing the Project Veritas video, you’re seeing that they are going to do whatever it takes. They are 100 percent in to protect the abortion lobby.’

I’m skeptical about companies’ willingness to show their true stripes, but I still hope that their employees will call them out.

Let’s hope that others answer Eric Cochran’s call.

June Group Writing – Dads are Hot

 

Dads get little respect today. The foolish father is a stock element in sitcoms, the government treats fathers like the disposable element in families, even as dangerous. Your male buddies, especially the unmarried ones, razz you: you are no longer a free man, they say, you are tied down for the next twenty years, they say.

Yet, dads are vital. Boys need men around to grow into men. There is a difference between a man who knows how to use his strength to protect others and one that knows how to use it only to get what they want. It is the difference between a wolf and a guard dog. The example set by an engaged, caring father is the best way for a boy to learn what it is.

Daughters, too, learn from the example set by their father. A girl without a father often grows up never learning what a good husband is. They often never learn how to relate properly to men unless they have a non-predatory adult male (that’s you, dad) in their lives when they were growing up.

Dads rarely get compliments from their kids, and often get static. That is because dad has a different role than mom. Fall off your bike and skin your knee. Mom kisses it and holds you until you feel better. Dad slaps a bandage on the scrape and tells you to get back on the bike.

Mom provides the family mercy. Dad provides the family justice. “Just wait until your father gets home!” Everyone is wary around the judge.

Mom’s love and admiration is unconditional. Dad’s love is unconditional, too, but you must earn dad’s respect. Children strive for that respect as they are growing up and after they grow up.

You get a raise and promotion. You win an award or get a book published. You call up the folks to let them know. You tell mom because it will please her. You tell dad to earn his approval. The world is a little better, every time children achieve meaningful accomplishments to earn dad’s approval.

Dad is the one the kids come to for help and advice. Dad has the answers. As long as my dad was alive, I still called my dad for advice – because he still had answers. As for my kids?

A few years back, when I was still in my 50s, my youngest was working on his Eagle Scout project – shelving for a library. He and older brother (then college age) pick up a pallet of material delivered to the library. They need to take it to granddad’s home wood shop. They have the family van.

The pallet weighs 420 pounds. After ninety minutes of futile effort, they call dad at work. “Can you help?” Dad takes personal time and drives down to the library. When he arrives, dad assesses the situation.

Fifteen minutes later, with no other tools than the muscles of an out-of-shape fifty-something male and two young adults, the pallet is in the van. Dad knew how. That’s what makes dads hot.

Happy father’s day, dads.

Recommended (and Not) Viewing on Prime

 

I thought I’d do you the favor of listing some more quick Amazon Prime Video recommendations so you don’t have to waste your time wading through mediocre productions. This is assuming our tastes align, but have I gone wrong before?

You’re welcome.

I sifted through the mountain of Dickens productions to find these gems:

Dickensian– 10-Episode Series- Highly Recommended. I kept scrolling past this one, and then decided to try it. Dickensian, for me, was one of those transporting, elevating pieces of entertainment. It brings together a number of Dickens’ characters for an original story arc, a murder mystery, but so much more than that formulaic genre. It’s really about people, about human nature and what individuals will do to get what they want, at others’ expense. Some pursuits are petty, some are avaricious, and unfortunately all feel true to life. It’s also about sacrifices and the remarkable lengths that some will go to ensure that right wins in the end. And there is another truth explored: that real honesty–difficult reality brought to the light–is loving and cleansing, even to those who do not want to be reached.

Although sometimes dizzying with its carousel of plots and characters, and at times lacking subtlety in final resolutions, this is a beautifully filmed, scripted, and acted series. It is also great fun to recognize Dickens’ characters, made to live again in new stories that are nonetheless respectful of their original source material. And the men and women I don’t know–Jaggers, for instance, and Honoria–have sparked my curiosity so that I will have to look them up. Bucket of the Detective, who might be an original Dickensian creation, is odd, clever, and warm-hearted enough to be one good reason I revisit the series every few years.

Oliver Twist-(1985) 12-Episode Series-Recommended. Because this is more than three decades old, I was skeptical about the production value. But while it does somewhat have the feel of being filmed on a stage, and costumes and sets are not always convincing, the acting and script are solid, and I found myself getting absorbed in spite of myself. I realized that this Oliver is one of my favorite Dickens TV adaptations to date.

David Copperfield (1999) 4-Episode Miniseries- Recommended. This is colorful, well-acted, and well produced, with funny and kind, evil and tragic characters. The actors are appealing, and the film sets beautiful. I would watch it again just for the wallpaper at the great aunt’s house–just splendid.

Our Mutual Friend 6-Episode Series- Recommended. Yet another Dickens adaptation, this production is a little hard to follow at the beginning, and actually more than a little creepy. Yet the story is not without hope, and the engaging, compelling actors won me over.

Movies with some real historical context that I enjoyed for their unusual settings and production values: Thousand Pieces of Gold and The War Bride. Both have their coarse, gritty details, but made me appreciate the predicaments of the characters.

Next, here are some that are okay picks if nothing else is on:

The Indian Doctor– This series, featuring an Indian couple in the 1960’s who took the doctor’s post in a small Welsh town, is a great concept, with charismatic main actors and beautiful filming. I got mostly through the third season, but have not yet returned to finish it due to over-the-top humor and obnoxious, cliched story arcs.

The Special Needs Hotel: This reality show about a hotel set up to train young people with autism, Down syndrome, and other special needs impresses the viewer with the effectiveness of the program and the kindness of the staff. There are some segments that are gems, such as one resident supported as he plans his big birthday party while practicing phone communication. But it is a reality show, so some awkward love scenes are clearly staged, to the detriment of the actors, perhaps, and for sure the discomfort of the viewers. In another big puzzler, the residents are offered alcohol at their dance parties. However, should a second season be offered, I would watch it.

Home Fires: This series about families left at home in an English village while World War II raged abroad had me electrified. I was delighted to discover a second season, to live again with characters who loved their families and struggled through physical and emotional challenges. Later, however, it felt like the stories burned less brightly, their moral core dampened by BBC writers once again. The series was then consumed in an abrupt blaze, a cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers that was never resolved due to cancellation of the show. Watch at your own risk.

Aristocrats: Six episodes cover the lives of four sisters, English nobility from the 1700’s who make disappointing choices and still have to live with themselves. The series attempts to capture the long sweep of their lives, and so makes a jarring turn at the end, when main actors are replaced by older ones in order to more convincingly show these men and women in their dotage.

BBC’s Emma (2009 miniseries, currently offered through Britbox): I thought I would love this production, featuring Romola Garai. Every time I started watching it, it seemed superfluous given all the current Emma movies out there. It does have its charming, aesthetically pleasing, engaging side, good for dark winter evenings. However, I thought Garai came across too pouty and spoiled, making her Emma not likable enough to carry the scenes with Knightley.

Here are some to not bother with, in my opinion:

The Darling Buds of May: Cute concept, beautiful setting, and engaging acting, but the series celebrates excessive drinking and nontraditional living arrangements with lots of winks and merriment.

Lorna Doone: This was just meh for me. Two young people from opposing sides–one a daughter of a violent clan of outlaws–meet and carry on a dangerous connection. I stopped watching it, so I can’t tell you much else. It didn’t offer much depth to keep me watching.

Wild at Heart: Although some reviewers loved the series, I never finished the first episode. It sounds interesting: a family in England goes to South Africa and ends up staying to run a game reserve. But I thought the story details a little shallow and more suited to younger viewers.

What’s your list? Help us out and save us time by recommending your favorites and steering us away from less worthy material.

Sunday Morning after the Storm

 

My mother started the decline with her memory at the early age of 68 and died at the age of 74 from Alzheimer’s.

Trouble started brewing between my sister and I at this time, not only were we losing our mom, but we were also losing our husbands, emotionally. We both ended up divorcing only a few years apart.

This weekend after not seeing each other since Christmas, a rarity we go that long, nevertheless, we found ourselves at a peace with each other for the first time in years. We were back to not only being sisters but each other’s best friend.

We spent every evening on my front porch, introducing each other to new music, playing the music that reminded us of our mother and our youth. We shared stories of our mom. A fond memory of my mom was late night country rides she loved taking.

My mom was that person that could get my daddy to do most anything, such as waking my sister and I up after midnight and the four of us going driving on long country roads listening to whatever was playing on the radio. I distinctly remember Squeeze Box by The Who, watching her sing to my daddy, bouncing around, upper body dancing, whilst my sister and we’re in the back seat (of our royal blue Chevy station wagon that was built like a tank) observing this love between them. The greatest reward to these late night rides was stopping at the corner gas station that was closed but had an outside bottled Coke machine and my dad buying us all Yahoos for the late night drive.

Having three days with my little sister, she left this morning. I sit here on my East Texas front porch after an early morning thunderstorm, cool breeze blowing; I reminisce about the awesome visit we had together, it’s peaceful and inspiring.

It’s a wonderful day after the storm.

Member Post

 

First of all I married a great woman and she smoothed out a lot of rough edges. I’m actually a quiet man, soft spoken and I do not encourage conflict. That being said I played a lot of hockey, had my share of stitches, and cuts. I was willing to drop the gloves and grab […]

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Member Post

 

  Exclusive: Facebook’s Process to Label You a ‘Hate Agent’ Revealed Facebook monitors the offline behavior of its users to determine if they should be categorized as a “Hate Agent,” according to a document provided exclusively to Breitbart News by a source within the social media giant.The document, titled “Hate Agent Policy Review” outlines a […]

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Awesome Dads of Ricochet

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the Members. I have been impressed by the many Dad members, who write about their family lives, and their kids. We Ricochetti tend to know what a good Dad is, and how not having one in the home can adversely affect the children. How many societal problems could be ameliorated by having a resident father? A great Dad is always attentive to his kids and their Mom. A great Dad is Masculine, Male, and never “toxic.” A great Dad is chivalrous toward his wife, and appreciates everything she does for the family. My list of Awesome Dads:

@bossmongo I love his stories about his family, and how he describes Mrs. Mongo, who is a very lucky lady.

@drbastiat I am impressed with how he supports all his kids through adverse circumstances.

@seawriter He has been Strong through all his troubles, and always sings the praises of all the members of his family, especially his late wife.

@iwe In spite of being a globetrotting CEO, he has raised a fantastic brood of kids, and I look forward to the Dad Tales he posts here. It also can’t hurt that he has added Ricochet members of his family, too!

@ryanm (Hammer, The) He must have one of the most beautiful families anywhere (we have met). And his tales of the characters he encounters on his job have been very instructive

@ejhill We have followed the trials and tribulations of Sons number One and Two, knowing they will be well taken care of.

Here’s a Cheer for all the Ricochet Dads! Hip, Hip, Hooray!

Quote of the Day – The Meaning of Laws

 

“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.” – Thomas Jefferson

The good news for woke activists judges and the Living Constitution advocates is that Thomas Jefferson was a slaveholder and therefore anything he says that disagrees with their viewpoint can be disregarded. And certainly they will disagree with this – that the plain wording of the law is the plain meaning of the law. It was the foundation rock of this republic; the rock Progressives are trying to dissolve to sand.

Misusing School Resource Officers

 

You have reached 9-1-1 Emergency Services. Please listen carefully as our menu has changed.
Please press 1 if you want us to raise your children for you.
Please press 2 if you are a school administrator and you want us to restore order in your school.

There is no reason that police officers assigned to schools should be used by school administrators and teachers to enforce code of conduct rules on the school campus. Assaults are a different matter as is trespass by non-students. Parents and their children that cannot behave should be told that they are to leave the campus by a school administrator, not by a police officer.

Refusal to leave the campus that results in a criminal trespass charge should require an administrator to agree to prosecute, a signed written statement, not verbal, as well as a written agreement that the school district will expel the student if a police officer has to physically remove an individual from the campus.

Administrative laws or rules are not the same as statutes passed by a state legislature concerning offenses – violations and crimes. Police officers on a campus if necessary should concentrate on protecting the premises, and students and staff from outside threats. They should not be used to enforce discipline by teachers, or staff that are unable, or unwilling to provide a disciplined school environment.

From Second City Cop:

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday renewed her threat to remove police officers from public schools on the heels of a blistering audit that accused the Chicago Police Department of continuing to operate the program without oversight and training.

Lightfoot’s transition report recommends “encouraging Chicago Public Schools to work with individual schools to define the mission, goal and scope” of school resource officers and tailor that role “to the needs of each school’s student body.”

But months after a confrontation between police officers and a student at Marshall High School, Lightfoot hinted again Thursday that the days of having Chicago police officers stationed inside Chicago Public Schools may end on her watch.

We’ve been advocating to get out of schools for at least a few years now. Even McCarthy toyed with the idea. But we don’t think Lori has the [redacted] to do it, especially after twenty-eight parents and students went to jail the other day.
I’m not sure what the “mission, goal, and scope” and “to the needs of each school’s student body” means other than it’s admin speak. I do agree with Second City Cop that it’s time for the Chicago Police Department to pull out of Chicago schools and place the discipline responsibility on school administrators where it belongs.

A Hot Mess: Climate of Confusion

 

Our betters had better get a grip on their narrative. We have been assured that the science is settled. Wicked men have offended Mother Earth and she is getting hot under the collar. To deny this is heresy. Heretics must be cast out, silenced, deplatformed, unpersoned. We must unite to denounce and deny the deniers…at Newsweek!

Newsweek is certainly a member in good standing of the church of correct thinking. So how could it possibly be that they would blaspheme Anthropogenic Global Warming? Yet here is the evidence that they have transgressed [emphasis added]:

TECH & SCIENCE
ICE AGES ARE CAUSED BY MASSIVE COLLISIONS OF EARTH’S CONTINENTS, STUDY SAYS
BY HANNAH OSBORNE ON 3/14/19 AT 2:00 PM EDT

A team of U.S. researchers has found that the last three major ice ages—which took place over 540 million years—were all preceded by massive tectonic pile-ups around the equator. Their findings, published in the journal Science, provide new insight into the causes of ice ages, which up until now were thought to relate to volcanic eruptions.

[…]

We are currently living in an ice age that began just over 2.5 million years ago. At present, we are in an interglacial period—where Earth goes through a warm period within an ice age.

At the moment, there is a zone in Indonesia where two tectonic plates are colliding. This could potentially be what was responsible for the current ice age—and why we have a cool climate and ice caps today.

The science is settled, so how dare Science publish such wrongthink? Was the editor asleep at Newsweek? Did Mark Steyn hack their server? Surely real scientists could never write such things! There must be a hoax or some conspiracy afoot! We must look to our high priestess AOC for protection and guidance in the Green New Way, lest civilization whither and blow away in the hot air.

Indeed, the Pope has apparently blessed the doctrinal soundness of Anthropogenic Global Warming. He has even pronounced a system of penances, or are they indulgences? @DonG asks “Is the Pope Catholic? Or is he a Gaiaist?” Perhaps the answer is “yes.” It would hardly be the first time religious authorities sprinkled holy water or waved incense over the pronouncements of secular powers.

Heisenberg Was Right About the Theology of Frightened Warts

 

When I learned how to scare warts, my view of the whole world changed. The procedure is pretty simple. A patient comes in and asks me to remove a wart from his hand. I’m busy or don’t want to deal with cryo or surgery that day, so I frown at the wart, stroke my chin, and say, “Yeah, well, sure, but to remove that is a very painful procedure that takes a long time. We don’t have sufficient time in the schedule today for it. Come back in six weeks. We’ll do it then.” The patient comes back in six weeks, and the wart is gone. It’s called scaring a wart. I was taught this in my post-graduate training, and I used the technique (It often works!), I just didn’t understand how it worked. Because what that means, is that if your brain really wants to get rid of that wart, it can. But how?

One of my board certifications is in Clinical Lipidology, which is sort of the study of the underlying biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology of atherosclerotic plaque deposition and rupture. I was at a Lipidology conference some years ago when a researcher brought up scaring warts. This seemed like an odd topic for a cardiovascular conference. But he had been researching the scaring of warts for years. (He must have been fun at cocktail parties: “…no, I don’t actually scare warts, I study the molecular biology which allows for the scaring of warts…” * …pretty girl slowly backs away with a frozen smile on her face… *)

Anyway, he would isolate the particular white blood cells which attack the particular viral particle which causes that particular type of wart on that particular person’s hand. Then he found a way to mark these particular cells with radionucleotide tags. He would then scare the wart, and perform serial radionucleotide scans to track the movement of these cells around the body. Simple experiment, although the details are a little tricky.

He found that these cells were pretty evenly distributed around the body, as one might expect, until he scared the wart. And then a huge majority of these cells would go directly to the wart in question. They would not go to other warts. Only the wart in question. Now think about that for a second.

That means that one of those particular white blood cells is drifting around the body, minding its own business, until it receives some sort of signal from the brain. Then, in response that signal, the cell will come to an intersection in an artery, and choose right or left, and choose again at the next intersection, and again and again and again, until it completes an extremely complex journey through a convoluted system of arteries, arterioles, and capillaries, until it gets to a very specific location on the person’s hand. And then it starts kicking some viral butt.

Now how on earth does that cell know where it’s going? How does it propel itself (or how do the arterial walls propel it) down a certain course? How does the signal from the brain work – does it use some system like GPS coordinates? Apparently blood does not flow around your body like water in a stream. It seems to be an organ which intelligently distributes resources to where they are needed at the time. Or something like that.

How on earth?

We have no idea. Not a clue.

But we spend a lot of time researching this because if we ever figure out exactly how this works, we’ve just cured cancer. We could give someone chemo, tag it to go only to the pancreas, and give enormous doses of chemo with no side effects elsewhere in the body. We could send antibiotics only to the lungs, to treat pneumonia, with no risk of intestinal complications. Just imagine what we could do. The possibilities boggle the mind. But during the lecture, that’s not what my mind was boggled by.

I was sitting there, a cup of Starbucks getting cold in my hand, wondering how something like that could simply evolve through random chance, natural selection, evolutionary pressure, survival of the fittest, and so on. Lightning hits a mud hole, and a few hundred million years later we have cellular anti-viral assassins with GPS guidance systems and elaborate communication systems to an intelligent central control hub? Man, I don’t know. That’s a little different from Boyle’s Law or something.

So I’m a slow learner. I lived my whole life surrounded by God’s miracles and I completely missed them. Until one day, God whaps me upside the head with wart research. And I just couldn’t avert my gaze any longer.

God: “Yo! Mr. Genius! Maybe things will look a little clearer to you if you OPEN YOUR #$%& EYES! C’mon! Why don’t you try using that brain I gave you, for a change?!?”

I suspect that God whapped Heisenberg upside the head with something a bit more glamorous than warts. Something like quantum mechanics. Whatever works, I suppose.

When I started my study of basic science, as a child, everything made sense. Basic science just makes sense. You can see it. But as I delved deeper and deeper into more advanced scientific study, it started to make less sense, rather than more. The things I knew became less obvious, and the things that I didn’t know became more difficult to ignore. Until I felt myself becoming less certain of even the things I thought I knew. Of everything, really. For a math/science guy, searching for understanding, it’s a disconcerting feeling.

But once I realized that perhaps things were not necessarily as random as I had previously believed, then things started to make sense again. There is a lot about science that we can understand, but I think we will eventually reach a point where we’re staring into the mind of God, and we won’t necessarily understand what we see.

I am one of the many who feel that they lack sufficient faith to remain an atheist. I tried for years. I really did. I thought I was so clever. But even clever people can’t rationalize away the obvious, sometimes. They often can, but sometimes they just can’t.

Some people see God when they look at a sunset. I see Him when I study subendothelial pathophysiology. It’s beautiful, once you know what you’re looking at. I now see the study of science sort of like a course in Art Appreciation. It’s ok if you don’t always understand what you’re looking at. It’s ok to just marvel at the wonder of it all sometimes. You continue in your unending search for understanding, but you accept that there will always be some things which remain beyond your grasp.

Atheists tend to find this to be scary – an urgent problem to be fixed – or perhaps ignored – or even more dangerously – a problem to be rationalized with false hypotheses which confirm their pre-existing biases. Religious students tend to find these same problems to be exciting – wondering “Cool! How the heck did He do this?”.

I can understand atheist artists, or atheist auto mechanics or whatever, but I really don’t understand atheist scientists. They are a very recent phenomenon, historically. How you can spend your whole life in the pursuit of scientific knowledge and not believe in God is one of the many things that is beyond my understanding. How can you not see that which you spend your life studying?

Although I couldn’t see it either, for years. It sometimes takes a while, especially for us slow learners. I hope God understands.

I know that Mr. Heisenberg does.

 

How Many Times Have You Died, and Of What Causes?

 

Seems like there have been at least half a dozen times we were all going to die since Trump assumed office. Net Neutrality? Pulling out of the Paris Accords climate boondoggle? Etc. But the immediate destruction of the world is hardly new to having Trump as PotUS. I was trying to count all the times I have died and of what causes during my lifetime, but with all the goalpost moving, it can be so hard to keep up.

OccupantCDN’s Ice Free Montana had a video the other day that went through the timeline of when Montana’s glaciers were supposed to all be melted starting with the first prediction of 1941, if I remember correctly. They just removed signs that said they would all be gone next year. (Surprise! They’re still there!) That is hardly the only one of the many, many dire predictions that have had to be moved back because the predictions did not come to fruition.

Global warming? I hear we now have to act in the next twelve years, or we will be beyond the point of no return. Of course, the first time I heard that prediction, I think it expired close to twenty years ago. It is very much like the various Millenarianist sects who keep having to move back the date of the Second Coming. Does anybody remember the Great Disappointment? Of course not, it was before we were born happening on October 22, 1844. But I bet we all remember predicted dates for the Apocalypse that came and went without anything happening other than one religious group’s disappointment.

Hey, remember the end of the Mayan calendar cycle? That was fun.

I’m old enough to have been alive when The Population Bomb was first published. According to that, we were all going to starve in the 1970s and 1980s unless we stopped people from reproducing. It was all very Malthusian. Of course, Old Tom first wrote about the idea in 1798, and we’re still producing more and more and the population has not kept up with production, so the world is much richer per capita than it was in 1798 or 1968.

Then there was nuclear winter. Because of nuclear testing, and if we had a nuclear war, so much particulate matter would get into the upper atmosphere that we would cool down and the Earth would go back into an Ice Age. That was in the 1970s, I believe.

Then there was the fact that a mad cowboy had been elected and had his finger on the nuclear button. We were all going to die because he’d get us into a war. What? No, not George W. Bush. Ronald Reagan, back in the 1980s. Bush came later.

Somewhere along the way, there was Global Warming, especially Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). But then it didn’t happen fast enough and there were cooler periods, so AGW was now supposed to bring on an ice age. For a while, they changed it to Global Weirding, and then to Climate Change. I don’t remember how many changes it went through or how many predicted must-act-before dates whizzed by over the last thirty years.

What else? Y2K was supposed to have major disruptions of computers that would have planes crashing into buildings and probably the end of civilization.

I’m sure I am missing at least two hundred things that were predicted to have killed me by now. How about you? Are you old enough to have died due to the Silent Spring of 1962? Something even before that? What have I missed that you died of, perhaps multiple times?

The Number One Song When You Were Born

 

As we know, in the study of Astrology the positions of the celestial bodies at the time of birth shape the rest of one’s life.

Pseudoscience? Perhaps. I’m not going to be judgmental here.

However, I will take the opportunity to offer my own, alternate, theory. Dare I say, an improvement on Astrology. That the number one song in the charts at the time of birth shapes the rest of one’s life. I mean, if planets 100’s of millions of miles away should have an influence, why not something much closer?

So, let’s give it a try. Post the song that was number one at the time your were born.

Wikipedia makes the process easy: List of Billboard number-one singles

Some of you might be hesitant, might not want to reveal your age. I understand. Feel free to substitute somebody else’s birthday, we won’t check.


I’ll go first. Elvis Presley, “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear”:

I never actually liked Elvis’ music. So, like with Astrology, there is some interpretation required.

(That beautiful guitar he never actually plays is a Gibson J-200.)

Reincarnation

 

Upon the news that Washington state passed a bill to allow the composting of human remains this poem came to mind:

Reincarnation, by Wally McRae

“What does Reincarnation mean?”
A cowpoke asked his friend.
His pal replied, “It happens when
Yer life has reached its end.
They comb yer hair, and warsh yer neck,
And clean yer fingernails,
And lay you in a padded box
Away from life’s travails.”

“The box and you goes in a hole,
That’s been dug into the ground.
Reincarnation starts in when
Yore planted ‘neath a mound.
Them clods melt down, just like yer box,
And you who is inside.
And then yore just beginnin’ on
Yer transformation ride.”

“In a while, the grass’ll grow
Upon yer rendered mound.
Till some day on yer moldered grave
A lonely flower is found.
And say a hoss should wander by
And graze upon this flower
That once wuz you, but now’s become
Yer vegetative bower.”

“The posy that the hoss done ate
Up, with his other feed,
Makes bone, and fat, and muscle
Essential to the steed,
But some is left that he can’t use
And so it passes through,
And finally lays upon the ground
This thing, that once wuz you.”

“Then say, by chance, I wanders by
And sees this upon the ground,
And I ponders, and I wonders at,
This object that I found.
I thinks of reincarnation,
Of life and death, and such,
And come away concludin’: Slim,
You ain’t changed, all that much.”

McRae lives in Rosebud, Montana. After Baxter Black, he is probably America’s best-known cowboy poet.