Tag: Zeal

The American Zeal for Punching Up


Red-blooded, real Americans are sick of America’s elites punching down on them. Authentic American politics, like authentic American comedy, roots for the underdog and punches up, not down. The problem with today’s elites is their down is up and their up is down: Our elites believe they’re signaling their superior virtue by “punching up” when they ridicule heartland America, but of course what they’re really doing is using their privileged social status to punch down on heartland America instead. Or that’s how it seems to many of us. For those unfamiliar with this punchy lingo, comedian Ben Schwartz explains,

“Punching up” and “punching down” are relatively new pop-political terms, often found not far from words like “mansplaining,” “problematic,” and “trolling.”

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We were so zealous about October’s theme of Zeal that we had to add an extra day onto the month. Oddly enough, in the comments of our last entry, someone mentions when a character added an extra day to a month once. Totally unrelated, I’m sure. At any rate, here they all are: Preview Open

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A Zeal for Glory


Tom was young when the war broke out, too young to legally enlist. He lied about his age and enlisted as a private soldier anyway. He spent the first years of the war as a private, and then mustered out after three years as a corporal. By that time, Tom was old enough to join the army legally.

His eldest brother had gone to the United States Military Academy at West Point and managed to graduate just as the war was heating up and get a commission as an officer. The eldest brother had done fairly well for himself, well enough and with enough promotions that he could have an aide-de-camp. Tom was commissioned a second lieutenant and became one of his brother’s aides. By this time, it was 1864. Lincoln had finally gotten a general who fights, and some of the hardest fighting of the war was still before them.

You’re Doin’ It Wrong


Today is Halloween, which means that tonight is Beggar’s Night. Or as I like to call it, my neighbor’s annual chance to confirm that someone actually does live in that house. At 6pm, I’ll need to be outside, as a bunch of rando people come walking up my driveway expecting me to interact with them.

What a horror show.

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Robert Mueller is a zealot. Like all such he is energetic, single minded, and transgresses in repellent or dangerous ways. Outsized personalities in positions of power can do great good or great harm. Robert Mueller’s dedication to his masters’ agenda has earned him scope to exercise his true calling – bring them down! His masters […]

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I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth to do that which should be done by me.—Charles Fillmore Poppa Charley was ninety-three years young when he wrote out this affirmation for himself. Affirmations are a way to help reprogram our thoughts, so it may have been that some of his thoughts were not […]

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Hypnotism and Zealotry


In the first weeks of my freshman year, my college hosted a hypnotist who gave a large demonstration. He invited volunteers to come up on stage and be hypnotized. I was curious enough that I volunteered, but when I joined the other folks on stage and the hypnotist began his work, I did not fall under his spell and I was sent back into the audience to watch. As the show unfolded, I was glad that I did not succumb, as I laughed at my classmates acting like chickens and showing us their amazing dance moves. I don’t know for certain but I strongly suspect that the fellow in this video is the same hypnotist, because his show is very similar (although instead of dance moves he’s got them showing off their kung fu prowess):

A Zeal for Writing


I am obsessed with writing. Seriously—I am. I wasn’t always that way, but it’s impossible to deny it at this stage of my life.

I’ve always written pretty well, but I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I had good teachers, a simple writing style, and even though I was accused by some teachers on a number of occasions of veering slightly (or greatly) off topic, they forgave me because what I wrote was usually articulate and interesting. (Of course, I couldn’t get away with that more than once with any particular teacher.)

Zeal Gap?


The gallery for --> Democrats Vs Republicans MapIs there a zeal gap in American politics? This question plays off the infamous “missile gap,” a campaign fiction deployed by JFK to defeat Nixon in 1960, when Nixon was the Vice President to the General of the Armies who defeated Nazi Germany. Conventional wisdom says liberals/Democrats are zealous in politics, like sports fans, where conservatives/Republicans tend to only engage episodically. Is this advantage real, and is it still there?

Years ago, a self-identified liberal cheerfully wrote, for a major publication, that she and her fellow liberals view politics like other Americans view sports. It is fun to fire off a quick letter to a politician or corporation and make a few calls to friend and foe offices. Daily. Yes. Daily. Whereas, conservatives, and the rest of the population, only rarely rouse themselves to a single episode of political expression. This is anecdotal, but we all have anecdotes to affirm this claim.

How many times has Rush Limbaugh, excused this, providing conservative audiences with the sneer “we’re too busy working?” Yet, Rush is a football fanatic. He loves to regale his audience with his sports and consumer technology enthusiasms. Rush is zealous in promoting and defending his brand, the basis of his wealth. Assume that he is also sincere, not just a showman, in his politics. Perhaps, then, Rush is carefully not pressing the “political zeal” button any harder than his audience will tolerate.

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A beautiful imagining of the Kingdom of Zeal (The original was 16-bit graphics) Let us turn the clock back a few decades. A much younger OmegaPaladin turns on his Super Nintendo with the cartridge labeled Chrono Trigger inserted, to immerse himself in a story of heroic deeds across time. After a challenging boss battle, he […]

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Make Me a Man After Your Own Heart


Pere Isaac Jogues came to the New World in 1636. He came to Quebec, by ship across the Atlantic, then by boat down the St. Lawrence to the small trading village, but his mission was to the Huron Indians far to the west, in what is today known as Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. He was a Jesuit priest who asked Jesus to make him a man after His own heart, and Jesus answered his prayer abundantly.

The Huron people were people of the longhouse. The women grew maize in their villages in the fertile land they controlled, and the men hunted and trapped. They traded furs with the French, and when a group of them arrived at Quebec for that purpose, they agreed to take Pere Isaac back with them to their villages. Travel to the land of the Huron was not easy for the Frenchman. He was unused to crouching in a birchbark canoe for hours and had no skill with the paddle. He found it difficult to make himself useful when they camped each night, but he was able to cut wood for the fire with his hatchet.

Jewish Zeal


It has been widely acknowledged that the three people who had the most profound cultural and political influence over the last hundred years were Jews: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein.

The zeal of Marx was centered around his theory that the ultimate motivation of human beings was economics (money!). The zeal of Freud derived from his theory that the all-encompassing driving force behind human behavior was the desire for pleasure. These self-centered theories were disproved by Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychologist who survived imprisonment in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. In “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl reported that those who survived the camps were typically the ones who would share their last crust of bread with another starving prisoner. Frankl said it was a search for meaning, not pleasure or materialistic concerns, that was the ultimate motivator of human behavior. (Check out this amazing video from 1972.)

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We’re on the downhill slope for the month of October, and we still have seven openings on the topic of Zeal. Are you now or have you ever been excited about something? Are you a sports fan? You could write about your zeal and enthusiasm about your team. Are you into crafts? How about gardening? […]

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Zealots of Masada


In 66 AD, a group of 960 Jewish Zealots decided they would prefer to commit suicide rather than yield to Roman conquest at Masada:

Masada (‘Metsada’ in Hebrew) is the name of the mountain on which the Masada fortress was built. It is more like a plateau or a table mountain, and quite isolated from its surroundings, as there is only one narrow, winding pathway leading up, fittingly called “the Snake.” According to Josephus Flavius, an ancient historian and the only one to record what happened on Masada, Masada was first built by the Hasmoneans, a Jewish dynasty who ruled Judaea in the years between 140-37 BC. Then, between 37-31 BC, King Herod the Great built two palaces there and further fortified the place as a refuge for himself in case of a revolt. However, it proved to be a refuge for Jewish rebels about 90 years later.

A group of Jewish extremists went to Masada after the destruction of the Second Temple. In response, the Roman governor of Judea conducted a siege there and the Jews tried to hold them off, but finally realized that they would lose. Technically, what they committed was not suicide, which is forbidden by Jewish law; instead, the people drew lots, taking turns in killing each other, so that only one person actually killed himself.

Zeal Is Easy, Facts Are Hard


Tuesday was my father’s 80th birthday. You wouldn’t believe that, by the way, if you could meet him. I don’t believe it. I always thought “eighty” was pretty darn old but my father has me rethinking that now.

A few weeks ago, my little sister asked the whole family to email in our contributions for a birthday surprise she was putting together — a custom-made book full of favorite family photos accompanied by personal quotes about all the things we love and have learned from our “Pop.”

Carpe Diem!


I was very lucky for my first 54 years to find myself in the orbit of a man who lived life with more zeal than anyone I’ve ever known. Those of you who’ve read some of my posts will probably guess I’m speaking of my Dad, and you’re right! Please bear with me while I recount, in short form, some stories, a few of which I’ve told here before, that explain what I mean:

He was born on March 6, 1919, the fifth of six boisterous and energetic children, in Birmingham, England. Although not considered “intellectually gifted,” he was very bright and threw himself into his studies (the ones that interested him, at least) with gusto. One of his interests was play-acting, and he memorized yards and yards of Shakespeare, as he appeared at first in bit-roles, and then as major characters in school productions. But his pièce de résistance was his role as the Pirate King in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. At some point during his “I am a Pirate King” song, he flung his cloak open with great abandon, knocking all the footlights into the orchestra pit, injuring several musicians, and bringing down the curtain for the performance.

Then there was the time he and a couple of Army buddies found themselves in St. Peter’s Basilica, having marched into Rome with Mark Clark and his army in June of 1944. I suppose Dad’s ‘command presence,’ which he took with him everywhere he went for his entire life, must have been recognized by the Swiss Guard in their fancy dress, and the the three of them, as soon as they were spotted, were immediately whisked up a flight of stairs and into an unscheduled private audience with the Holy Father, who gave them each a rosary and engaged with them in a charming visit.

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In about 1975, my first husband and I had returned to Seattle from Minneapolis, and were living on a shoestring.  He had found a job as a transformer winder at a company that made industrial transformers, and I, with my MA in psychology, was working as a pricing clerk in a hospital pharmacy.  Now, Larry […]

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10/11/18: First the Zeal, Then We Heal


Exactly thirty years ago this week, I was living with my grandparents for a while in the Florida panhandle, not far from the area that just got pounded by Hurricane Michael. Despite having two jobs at the time, I’d taken on a challenging role with the local community theater, playing Annie Oakley, in Annie Get Your Gun. My grandmother would regularly “tut-tut” her two cents over the pace and schedule that I was keeping but I waved her off and blithely assured her that I was fine. Until that Monday halfway through the run on our one night off, when suddenly, I wasn’t.

I woke up feeling a bit woozy but I figured it would pass and went on in to work, where I lasted about 2 hours before my boss told me I looked like hell and ordered me to go home. Thank goodness for meddling grandparents because mine dragged me off the couch, packed me into the car and rushed me to their doctor who diagnosed a severe case of gastroenteritis.

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Casually perusing the interwebs, seeking music with zeal, quickly revealed two musicians using “zeal” in their brand name. They could hardly be more different, both in genre and inspiration. Consider Zeal Music, and Zeal and Ardor. Zeal Music is “the home of select sacred music by American composer, Scot Crandal.” He composes everything from hymns, […]

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A Zeal for Diplomacy


Dear Mister President:

It has come to my attention that you now have an opening in your administration for a new Ambassador to the United Nations (UN). If I may be so bold, I should like to put forward my own name for the position. My previous diplomatic experiences include: making collections and repossessing cars for a finance company on the east side of Joliet, IL, back in the 1980s; cajoling and directing incompetent computer operators to properly run jobs and fix problems from a remote location when they were too far away to choke and/or beat to death as Darwin would have approved of; and as a consultant, firing clients with extreme prejudice.