Tag: Family

‘Coraline’ and Modern Gender Politics


If you have yet to see Coraline I highly recommend you do so. An adolescent horror film from Focus Features and Laika Entertainment – the latter of which also created gems such as The Corpse Bride, and Paranorman – this animated film takes us on a strange journey of a young girl who is transported to a seemingly alternate world where she’s given all that she would want, but at a price. The animation style is unique for the time and just adds to the strange feel of the tale. Based on a novella by Neil Gaiman, it offers a warning for our modern times that I’m certain Gaiman would never intend, nor, I’m certain, would he in any way approve of the parallels I shall make in this commentary.

The story opens with the title character and her family moving to small-town Oregon. Coraline is clearly unhappy with the move and nonplussed with her new living conditions. The home they’ve moved to is in disrepair. Their housemates are strange and quirky at best and the only person her age is Wybie, who’s something of an annoying motormouth. Her mother doesn’t have time for her; her father is a terrible cook. Nothing is going well for her.

It’s then that Coraline discovers a small door to a crawl space that she decides to explore. Passing through it, she comes out into a parallel of her current living conditions but everything there seems perfect. There’s a nigh-lookalike of her mother who calls herself Coraline’s “Other Mother.” The Other Mother presents all that Coraline could want. She’s a good cook. Her house is clean, well-kept, and homey. Her “Other Father” is alert and clearly a clever musician. The only catch: everyone in this alternate world has buttons for eyes.



“Teri says call her,” my wife relayed to me deplaning the aircraft in Reno. It was 9:30 p.m. “Oh no, he’s gone,” I thought as I dialed the phone. My dad was on final and I was vigorously trying to get to Carson City Nevada before he passed. This trip from Virginia had been a series of stressful legs as each time I hit the ground I would check my phone to see his status. In Reno, it turned out they were sending Daniel, my nephew and Carson City Sheriff, for me so he could whisk me to Carson quickly. My wife would stay, gather the luggage, and follow on with my sister’s husband. My dad was hanging on.

I linked up with Daniel and made the 25-minute drive in 12 minutes.  Arriving at my dad’s apartment I gave Daniel a hug and moved to the back room where my dad was in a hospice-supplied medical bed. He was not conscious. We had been giving him morphine in decreasing time intervals for a day now and he now was at 15-minute intervals. I hugged my sister Teri and my niece Meliah and sat on the edge of my dad’s bed. Holding his hand, I told him I loved him, that I forgave him for his shortcomings as a dad, and asked for forgiveness for my shortcomings as a son.  It was settling. My wife arrived about 30 minutes after me and joined the fray. We then all sat in this room for the next 40 minutes. It is as if he was satisfied that we were all there and everything was OK. His breathing intervals slowed then around 11 p.m. Tuesday, 6 December, he passed.

Jim and Greg take time to reflect on what they are politically thankful for in 2022. Their items range from a war thousands of miles away to key developments right here in the U.S. And they offer some things they are personally thankful for too…including you! Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you enjoy this special edition of the 3 Martini Lunch.

DeSantis-Crist Debate: Used Car Salesman Available


The debate the other night between Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Gov. Charlie Crist offered actual meat coming from Gov. DeSantis, with the new fake plant-based meat coming from Crist. We’ve lived in Florida long enough to have lived under both governors. DeSantis delivered answers that belong to a real governor. He answered questions directly, based on real-life issues, both state and national, and his policies. For example:

He believes in teaching children the basics — math, reading, writing, history — and not distorting their young, fragile minds with confusing gender ideology, race-baiting, planet-worshiping, or any of today’s trends that young children should not be subjected to. He made it clear that parents decide their child’s health, which includes vaccines, their mental and emotional well-being, and their gender identity.

Schools are for teaching skills and all history — not selective, as it has always been. He rejected Common Core elements that left math and other skills more complicated than teaching needed to be, and heard teachers who wanted to teach and not be bound by countless tests — and a specific, nationally dictated curriculum. Teachers want to teach children, and share their gifts of enthusiasm for our country and all that it has to offer. I spoke to teachers and they told me so, and how they’ve been hampered by Common Core.

Welcome to the New (Brainwashed) Civilization


I had a disturbing conversation with a relative, a cousin who is an off-the-charts left-leaning liberal and much older than me. She lives out west. She’s my flesh and blood and I let it drop today that I, and others in our family and my husband’s family had not been vaccinated.  My reasons are personal preference due to major food allergies and a very bad reaction to a flu shot in 2008.

She and her husband have been vaccinated and boosted out the tail. When I disclosed this, she had a meltdown. “OH! OH! Oh no!! Oh!  NO!  I never would have thought you were like that!  I am sweating — I can’t talk — I have to end this conversation! Oh no! A super spreader — how could you not?!!  We had no post-symptoms!

Small Towns Do Big Things (aka, America Is OK)


A text from my sister prompted this post.  She lives in a small, rural mountain town in Maryland.  It read as follows: “We had a luncheon after church for our lead singer/guitarist.  He is moving to Williamsburg, VA.  We are also taking a collection for a church in the Kentucky floods.  A couple is going down to take the supplies and funds.”

I asked my sister, is that the chubby guy that sings? I remembered him, as I watched those church services online during Covid.  Her pastor’s very encouraging and passionate sermons were an inspiration during that time, and I remembered this talented musician.

Here’s a sample about six minutes into the video:

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We have a 24/7 classical music station, via public broadcasting, and on late Sunday afternoons, a wonderful program comes on.  It highlights young classical musicians from all walks of life.  They sheepishly talk about their influences, inspiration for the piece they are presenting (sometimes written by themselves), while sharing their culture and challenges. The host […]

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Strong Families for All Are Worth Defending


In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a landmark report in which he contended that the rising number of black families headed by unmarried mothers would reduce the prospects for Blacks to rise out of poverty, in spite of that era’s landmark civil rights legislation.

Moynihan was furiously denounced for his efforts. But he was proven right and he would be even more correct making the same observations today.

It’s been a tough half-century for families. Although Moynihan focused his concerns on Blacks, family breakdown correlates as much with income level as it does with race.

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This weekend is Memorial Day weekend.  It’s often thought of as the traditional start of Summer.  It’s a time for putting the dock in, getting the deck or patio ready for outdoor gatherings and meals, or putting in your garden (for  us northerners).  However, it’s still a holiday meant for remembering those who have served […]

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Reading the Signs: Time to Turn Around


I saw the headlines on the Texas elementary school shooting flash on the TV screen, like most of you. My husband said, “I don’t want you to see this.” It didn’t work. I laid awake with my own mental pictures and tried to put the pieces of a distorted, senseless, fragmented, and tragic puzzle together. The pieces didn’t fit. I read the story this morning — an 18-year-old Hispanic boy who had a dark, online life and somehow acquired guns.

As I read the story in detail, the same responses came after … guns and the foul gun lobby, then celebrity comments like, “We can do better.” It’s sick. Since this ugliness continues, we are obviously not doing better. Not even close. I thought about a boy who became a stoic monster, with no feeling or expression on his face — who had nothing to live for and wanted to cause tremendous pain. Where did he live? Was he pushed across an open border with nothing and sucked up by a ruthless gang? Where are his parents right now? I want to know these things because he can’t be the only one. Texas has a big border — and they keep sounding the alarm to deaf ears.

I thought about Davos, Switzerland, because we’re told the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is on our doorstep — get ready. Klaus Schwab and all the drivers of the great digital, technological, marvelous age soon to come are piled up together, weaving their New World Order. Part of that is “order” is the allure of endless social media, where this boy wanted pictures of guns posted — where he was rambling to people he didn’t know to post his pictures.

Ignoring the Rules 2.0


We just moved.  I’m in a new neighborhood, a new town, same state – thank God (for Gov. DeSantis).  It’s a 55+ community because me, my husband and our cat are over 55.  He picked the community – when we cashed out in spades selling our old house, and our real estate agent told us about our current town.  We like it here, but it’s been less than two weeks.  There’s construction – because half the country is moving to Florida –  and older folks.

I have nothing against grey hair and golf carts.  Personally, I like Ultress and Preference by L’Oréal – it does wonders, but that’s just me. The next-door neighbor brought us a triple chocolate cake.  He has brown hair and two adorable pooches. They gave us a snapshot of the nearby neighbors and I was impressed.

They seem to jump in and do projects – scarfing up free lumber from the dumpsters and building things as needed, including a ramp for a disabled neighbor and insulating garages from the Florida heat.  Older people know how to build things and how to budget.  They bike, kayak, walk, and hike, we noticed. The amenities center had a lively water volleyball game taking place when I visited, an outdoor painting class, and bocce ball and tennis games in action.

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The question, “What are you willing to DIE for?” has been in the back of my mind all week. Yes. It is a question I have pondered often. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a renewed call to commitment. I was listening to Bari Weiss talk about “Things Worth Fighting For.” Her impassioned, logical, […]

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Quote of the Day: Churchill on Family Size


“One to reproduce your wife, one to reproduce yourself, one for the increase in population, and one in case of accident.” — Winston Churchill

This was his formula for family size. It is one Janet and I subscribed to, although we only got to three. (Fortunately, there have been no accidents.) It seems anachronistic today. The better sort have been decrying increase in population for nearly a century because it will lower global standards of living. (This despite fewer people living in abject poverty today than in any time in history — even though we have nearly three times the world population as we had when family planning became a crusade for the “progressives.”) China embraced a one-child policy that is leading it towards demographic disaster over the next 20 years, despite their efforts to reverse it. So let’s hail Churchill’s formula for children.

The Big Joy in Small Things


I have talked about practicing gratitude before, now I want to discuss a way of doing that. Too often, we wait for the big events to feel joy: Graduations, weddings, promotions, the long-awaited vacation. All of these are great things to enjoy. They are also things that don’t happen every day. In the grind of everyday life, we fail to notice the small things that bring us joy. I have found if I am mindful of the small joys in life, my overall sense of gratitude is much higher.

You may think that you don’t have any small things to bring you joy in a normal day, but I would argue that is because you are not really searching for them. It is easy to become overwhelmed in the day-to-day activities and miss the moments you could have. I want to use an example from my own life this Christmas Eve.

Over the Hill and Through the Woods to Mr. Churchill’s House We Go: A Disaster in 3 Parts


In our household, I’m known as the one with ‘bright ideas.’ 

Maybe I should clarify. ‘Bright ideas’ here is spoken in roughly the same tone which Bill Buckley reserved for his interactions with Gore Vidal. Somewhere between getting caught up in a riot in Paris and taking up kicking men twice my size in the head as a hobby, my parents lost some confidence in my critical thinking skills. Well, before that, maybe, but you get the picture. 

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My Mother gave me a piece of furniture that used to belong to my paternal grandfather.  I am like her in that I have trouble disassociating items with people and assign too much sentimental value to inanimate objects.   She kept it in her garage piled with junk until one weekend I took my two oldest […]

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