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Friday, December 31, 2021

So, I got hit by COVID-19...

It was only a matter of time, I suppose.  And based on what those who were in close proximity to me have said, it seems like it's the omicron (anagram for "moronic") variant.  Which is the most wildly contagious as well as apparently being the least malign of the strains found so far.  Two friends and I were at a movie theater on Christmas Day, watching Spider-Man: No Way Home and one of them believes she picked it up during a trip to the restroom.  She tested positive two days later and our other friend got a positive result the next day.  My symptoms began a few hours later.  It hasn't been as severe as theirs, but still... this has been a pretty cruddy way to end 2021 on.  Or a fitting one.  Or something.

It's almost miraculous that it took this long to contract it, given my work as a health care professional involves interacting with the public on a constant basis.  Two years' keeping ahead of the Wuhan Flu is a pretty good record, all things considered.

I'm day four now into fighting this thing but happily I'm on the tail end of it.  Body temperature had been oscillating like an accordion but that seems to have ended last night.  There hasn't been as much mucous produced as I had originally thought.  My chest feels like there's a weight on it, even now.  I never lost the sense of smell, however there is a weird taste in my mouth.  But that's been happening lately anyway, because of iron infusions I've been receiving to offset anemia.

I still do not believe in COVID vaccine mandates: something I've expressed on numerous other forums.  The choice to be vaccinated should be a very personal one, for a lot of reasons.  I was vaccinated this past winter, but I have chosen to not receive boosters.  Indeed, I wonder about the efficacy of the vaccines, given the reports that have accumulated of people being severely injured and even dying after getting jabbed.  We should have been addressing this with medications like Ivermectin, which is what countries like India have been doing to counter COVID.  But I suppose "big pharma" couldn't make enough money on something they tout as a horse dewormer (and the drug companies have better paying lobbyists too).

In hindsight, I'm taking a perverse view on getting COVID-19.  Coming through like this, my body has been working overtime to cook up some all natural antibodies.  My chances of catching COVID again are significantly diminished.  I'm going to be able to head out the office door to meet my patients with much more confidence, and that's a good thing.

Until the next plague that our friends the ChiComs whip up in their laboratories...


Sunday, November 21, 2021


Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the movie we didn't know we needed right now, is better than we deserve, and blew away expectations.  It is a MAGNIFICENT tribute to the original film while standing on its own and setting the stage for more still to come.  Be sure to stick around until the end of the credits for two extra scenes.

And we had some fun with our going to see it:

Who you gonna call?

Some friends and I went to the theater wearing our finest Ghostbuster attire.  That's my bestie since college Ed in the center.  The whole thing was his idea :-)

Anyhoo, go see Ghostbusters: Afterlife.  It's the perfect motion picture and quite fitting for this Thanksgiving season.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Remember my prediction from this past January?

 Here it is if you've forgotten: my most serious prediction ever...


Make a note of this.  January the Sixth, Two Thousand and Twenty-One.  Just before 1 p.m. EST.

If I'm wrong about this I'll eat my fedora.  No really, I will.

Here it is:

I do declare that four years from today, the United States will be in the WORST condition it has been in, in at least the past fifty years.

Hold me to this.  Do it.

I am dead-#@%$ serious.
 That was ten months ago.  Much less than the forty-eight I allocated to Biden.

Out of control inflation.  Soaring gas prices.  Less food.  Energy costs set to skyrocket.  A military more dedicated to being "woke" than defense readiness.  Americans still stranded in Afghanistan.  Supply chains strangled because of over-burdening regulation on truckers.  Vaccine mandates.  No effective counter to a China becoming more belligerent by the month if not quicker.  The list goes on...

But hey: no more mean tweets!!

"Let's go Brandon."

I'm now on Substack

In trying to return to writing on a regular basis, I'm looking to broaden my reach.  So it is that I've just joined Substack, at christopherknight.substack.com.  Expect more serious commentary than what I usually have on this blog.  Like, the first post is about an ethical issue that has been on my mind the past several days.  Substack has the feature of letting authors charge a monthly subscription for their work.  I'm not going to  go that far.  I doubt my own humble page will get more than a hundred views a month.  But the idea is there, at least.  Anyhoo, see y'all on Substack!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Medication mementos

So, it's been a few months since I last shared anything with all two of this blog's regular readers (actually it's more than two, and I am thankful for every visitor, including our friends in County Meath, Ireland).  Lots has happened since then... and relatively little of it much good.

Let me go back a bit to earlier this year.  I had been having some issues with the medications I take to manage my bipolar disorder.  It was so bad that I took two weeks off from work to address them, at a daytime outpatient facility.  It did enormous good in some aspects.  The involuntarily shaking of my body when certain memories arose, that has been remedied with the addition of one new med.  When I got back to work, things were pretty good... for awhile.

But then it seemed that other problems arose to take the trembling's place.  Serious lethargy, chronic headaches (especially in the morning), some weight gain, an increase in racing thoughts, elevated depressive episodes... these and more became the bane of my existence.  What did I do to counter them?

Yup.  More meds.  So many during these past ten months that I can't remember all of them by name.

In August I was prescribed another medication.  One I had taken already, mostly in the early years involving my diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  This was going to make me less lethargic, it was thought.

I wish that I could tell you what happened after that, because I have no solid memory at all.

My neighbors have told me that they found me outside in the rain, dancing about barely clothed.  At one point I was trying to open other people's car doors.  There was other bizarre behavior also.  Some of it I only discovered later.  Like, how I found an oven mitt in the washing machine.  The mitt was filled with my dog Tammy's dry food.  The bottle of pink salt in a closet.  My toothbrush on the coffee table.  I have not one whit of memory about any of this but I trust my neighbors.  One of them said that he had seen this before in other people: a medication reaction.

Then came the next day, when I was found face-down and unconscious on the asphalt on the side of the road next to my house.

I don't remember the ride in the ambulance.  I remember my face hurting like hell though.  I also vaguely remember thinking that I had been attacked by someone.  Now, I'm not sure at all about it.  My face was beaten to a pulp.  It could have been somebody hitting me. It could also have been simply me falling forward face-first onto the side of the road.

At the hospital I had to have stitches in my left knee, and was given a CT scan.  I barely remember a sheriff's deputy taking me home that night.

My supervisor later showed me some of the texts I had sent her.  Something about a Dr. Pepper can "pulsing" and one about Perseus and Medusa.

It had all been a reaction to the new medication.  Thank God I didn't do anything else, or did something that would have harmed my dog.  It's an enormously disturbing thought, that I could have gotten behind the wheel and tried to drive off.

Well, I'm blessed to have some very good people in my life.  One of my best friends and her mother came to my house the next day and we agreed that I needed some time in an inpatient environment.  I called the same place where I had been earlier in the year as an outpatient, and arranged to voluntarily check myself in.

I was a patient for a little over a week.  That's the second time I've been voluntarily admitted to a psychiatric facility.  Involuntary?  Four or five.  Which is almost certainly what would have happened had I not gotten off the med.  That med was the only one of my regimen that I was not given during my stay.

And now?  After missing almost an entire month I'm back at work, as a peer support specialist for the local mental health center.  I'm trying to regain confidence in me, because this ordeal has caused me to no longer fully trust myself.  If I don't remember most of one month, what else don't I remember?  Were there times in the past where I was an entirely different person, but I have no memory of it?

I really could have ended my own life during that month, and not even know that I was doing it.  There have been times when I've had suicidal ideations.  Some of them, quite recently.  But there was always something stopping me from going too far.  I think that letting down my friends, and not being there for my dog, are what keep me from straying past the line.  But what if I lost my faculties completely, and did something to harm myself without my conscious mind knowing it was happening?

Suddenly, my world is a very different place.  One that I can no longer take for granted or believe that I can have complete control over.

And that's what's been happening these past few months, my friends.  Nothing more or less than trying to hold onto some shred of sanity.

Will have more to write again soon.

Monday, June 14, 2021

My favorite movie hits forty years old

I had no idea that Raiders of the Lost Ark had returned to theaters for its fortieth anniversary until my iPhone suggested it from a list of movies playing nearby.  Whatever other plans I'd made last Sunday got dropped like a hot Sankara Stone as I headed to the big cinema the next town over.  And that's how, for only the second time in my life, I got to behold my all time favorite film on the big screen.
I was far from alone.  About forty-some others had shown up too.  Including the family of four that sat in front of me.  Two little girls, maybe seven and eight.  Just how old I was when I first saw Raiders.  I could tell this movie was giving them thrills and chills, just as it did me.
Maybe it made some of the same impact on them that watching Raiders had on me.  In the days and weeks following my first time seeing the movie, I was obsessed with finding out everything I could about the real life history behind the story.  Every encyclopedia volume must have been pulled off of our bookshelf as I read up about ancient Egypt, the Nazis, the Ark of the Covenant...  All of that and more was fodder for my young mind.

So it's safe to say that Raiders of the Lost Ark is not just my favorite movie of all time.  It's also the film that most affected my life.  Yes, the Star Wars saga was a wide-eyeing wonder of story and spectacle that imprinted onto my imagination.  But Raiders ignited the love of history that has followed and guided my life all along.  It taught me that academia and learning could be a very cool thing (though my own scholarship never involved wielding a bullwhip... though I rock in a fedora).

It was also the start of something special between Dad and I.  He loved this movie too.  And we never failed to catch an Indiana Jones movie together in the theater whenever one came out.  He was a real authority on the kinds of vehicles that moved about Indy's world, particularly the aircraft.  I think that from the very first moments of 1936 South America, Dad recognized this movie as being a homage to the Saturday serials of his childhood.  Raiders of the Lost Ark was like a meeting place between his generation and mine.  And for just that alone I will forever treasure this movie.
But what it is to all of us together is a kick-butt movie that, like any treasure in the desert, has become priceless with time.  It is also something that has never been replicated so perfectly.  Certainly its sequels tried, and sometimes approximated the success.  But Raiders of the Lost Ark was too much like lightning in a bottle.  It was the intersection of the era's most successful actor, its most successful director, its most successful creator of worlds, all come together with the edgiest of cutting edge special effects and a rollickin' score by John Williams.  Something like that just can't be done all over again like that first time.

Forty years later, and it still holds up.  As perhaps the most perfect motion picture spectacle ever committed to celluloid.  There was nothing like it before and there does not look to  be anything like it since then.
So let us raise a glass to Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Happy fortieth anniversary to Indiana Jones.  Remember: it's not the years, it's the mileage.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

A message to the Christians of Generation X


What I'm about to share, has been a long while percolating. It's not going to be taken well by too many people. Especially by those around my age and fellow Christians. But it's time that it be said. Maybe there can yet be some salvaging what has come of us.

A few weeks ago I came upon some music. It was a collection of MP3s. I was the one who made them, all the way back in 1999. They're MP3s of a night of singing from Elon's chapter of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Real, home-grown and heart-felt praise and worship from a young people with their entire lives ahead of them.
I listened to them and wept tears of remembrance at how FRESH it sounded. I will never claim to have been fully immersed in the IV culture, it seems more like I was playing on the edges. That, despite my having become a Christian in no small part because of the ministries of friends there.
But I recognize the purity of the motivation for that singing well enough. I heard voices that to this day, I can recognize and put a name to. A friend from Florida. A quartet of ladies. My discipleship partner, who opened my eyes more than he knew and maybe someday I’ll get to tell him that.
I couldn’t help but listen to the singing, and wonder about what has become of us through the crucible of time. Many of us of course got married, had children of our own. Some didn’t. Some, like me, were married and then one day saw it come crashing down. Some of us crossed America to find a place where God might want us to be, and others held firm to their roots.
I envy those. It means that they found real love and affection without having to go searching for it. They had stability. Others, did not and may never know stability other than as some far-off dream. I think of all the wacky things that happened in my life. Some of them aroused a bit of notoriety. Those aren’t things that happen when you’re stable.
I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other. They are instead what God calls for each of us as individuals. It is left to each of us to seek the path God would have for us to be on, and to adhere to that path, trusting in Him.
So, my old friends, I love them and always have and always will.
And I wonder where it was that we… that ALL of us… failed. And I mean as Christians.
To understand what I mean, we have to go back to another time. Roughly a quarter century. To the Christianity of America and the “civilized” west. I emphasize that because it’s been impressed upon me that the Christianity of our culture is far removed from that of other places. Such as North Korea. And communist China. And regions of Africa, where it seems not a week goes by that an atrocity against born-again Christians doesn’t transpire. Weirdly, we don’t seem to listen to news about that. We don’t stop to consider our brethren in distant lands where Christ is met with hostility and persecution.

If that had registered at all with us it was only in a peripheral sense. We were too busy doing “the God thing” in our own way.
We wore the scripture-festooned t-shirts. We tied on the “WWJD” bracelets. We listened to DC Talk and Audio Adrenaline and the other Christian music acts at events like Winter Jam. We patterned our relationships on I Kissed Dating Goodbye. We engorged ourselves on apocalyptic pulp fiction like the Left Behind series, so very sure that ours would be the generation swept up in the Rapture.
Well, here it is, well over twenty years later. There has been no Rapture. The books and clothing are food for rats and roaches. Relationships were destroyed by I Kissed Dating Goodbye, not built up. The music stopped.
And then there was “the prize”. What we wanted most: to lead others to Christ. To win even one person over to God. To give the angels of Heaven reason to rejoice.
I wonder now: how much was that for God, and how much was for ourselves. “Converting to Christ” to some became like a notch on the belt. Something to boast of, when boasting was the LAST thing we should have done. Rejoice, yes… but never to have pride in.
And what came of it? How many of those we led, still clung to Christ?
The “mighty generation of prayer warriors” we were told we were, ended up a generation as mundane as any other.
It seems that all that is left is an archive of MP3s, listened to by someone who tried to hold fast to his faith only to see it buckle and break and now is left wondering:
“What happened to me? Come to think of it: What happened to *us*?”
Granted, some escaped total blame. Again I sense envy in myself. But as an entire generation of young Christians… we messed up.
The world is no better for the enthusiasm we had. Indeed some will argue that the world is much worse. I don’t care to tick off in how many ways, that’s not what this essay is about. Except that the number of people in America claiming to be Christian has ebbed significantly.
I believe it can readily be said: things are not better compared to what they were two and three decades ago. Or perhaps I’m wistfully reminiscing about the way things were before we stopped looking to God and began gluing our pupils to all of those screens we surround ourselves with.
Our generation of Christians – at least the Christianity of the “civilized” world – had its chance to leave behind it a legacy like none other. With great abandon we threw our lot in with the cause of Christ. Ours was love for one another utterly. We were the edge of the sword of the Word. That is what we thought of ourselves.
But we failed.
Maybe it’s not entirely our fault. What most threw shade on our righteous ambitions was 9/11. That act rattled us to our core. It taught us that we were NOT invulnerable. Also too, we have come to acknowledge that from the top of mortal authority on down, there was a lack of real leadership. We put too much of our faith in “leaders” who glorified themselves, instead of truly serving others.
Our eyes were shaken off of the eternal, and made to rest on the things of this temporal realm. And that was one of the tests we had to endure. Can it sincerely be said that we passed it?
Because, we didn’t.
My work in the field of mental health involves interacting with a lot of different people. About a month ago one of my clients lent me a book about the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School. Reading it has brought back memories of watching its aftermath unfold.
The first victim was a seventeen-year old girl who with a gun aimed at her head answered “You know I do” when asked if she believed in God. And then someone else – it was unclear at the time who exactly – in the library told the assailants “yes” when she was asked if she was a Christian.
One thing that was reported in the book that has been lingering on the edges of my mind these last few weeks. It’s about how despite the tragedy, the Christian community of Littleton, Colorado coalesced and grew. The blood of Rachel Scott, Cassie Bernall, and others killed at Columbine were like seeds let to fall to the ground, bringing forth new spiritual life to a generation most in need of it.
That was the effect, for a while. The churches were packed, especially with young people. Commitments were made. Wavering hearts became more steadfast.
God had brought some of our own to the point of martyrdom. And what should have been a clarion call for us to abandon our pretenses and throw in that much more behind the Throne… well…
What happened to that? According to Dave Cullen’s Columbine ten years after the tragedy, the swelling of the churches in the Littleton area had subsided. More than an extra decade since then has likely not made the situation any better. It’s almost enough to ask: “What did they die for?”
The Christians of Generation X had everything going for them. We had our own culture and were making an impact on the larger world. We *mattered*.
But we blew it. And in doing so we let *them* – the ones who have come before and have come since – down.
We were proud. We were arrogant. We were the furthest thing from humble. And if there is any one thing that God will not abide, it is pride in our own works.
We could have still mattered. We really could have been the generation that God used in a mighty way. 
But we didn’t have humility enough.
We were going to change the world for Christ. Instead the world changed us. Our temerity and zeal for Christ was beaten upon and worn down.
In short: we were defeated, in great part.
I don’t believe that it necessarily must be a failure we are damned to.
Look, I’m NOT saying that we have to go back to “the way things were”. Those days are behind us. We have grown up. That’s not who we are anymore singing those songs in a fellowship group of college kids.
We have lost much of our innocence. But that doesn’t mean that all has been taken from us. The parts that matter most.
Because right now, there are few who are as poised to change things more than Generation X. We are still plenty young enough to have a spirit of fire. Wedded to that is a maturity that comes with age and experience.
Maybe we *had* to blow it. Perhaps the flaming metal of youth needed a tempering quench.
I have to believe that even the worst things in life, if given over to God, can bear precious fruit.
We can still be used by God. IF we let Him.
But if we do not learn from our missteps, our generation really *will* have failed. Failed those who have come after us especially.
It wasn’t “our time” then. But it certainly is now.
And it’s time we made good on what we promised God.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Mah Na Mah Na! New article at American Thinker

I might have broken whole new ground in op-ed writing by using the word "Pufnstuf".  But anyhoo, American Thinker this morning has published a new article by Yours Truly.  "And then they came for the Muppets..." delves into Disney's slapping an "offensive material" disclaimer on several episodes of The Muppet Show.

A sample from the piece:

These declaimers are micro-sermons about the virtues of inclusion. They are meant to “foster dialogue.” But anyone who sits the children down for a heart-to-heart discussion about Muppet morality probably doesn’t get the point of the Muppets anyway. These disclaimers, along with all the others that Disney is slapping onto Lady and the Tramp and Peter Pan and other films, accomplish nothing of the sort. They are nuisances at best. By the end of the show the average child will have forgotten all about them.

That's the second article in a row (counting the one about Gina Carano from last week) that's addressed Disney+. I'm not out to "get Disney", honest. But it has to be said: that company is pumping out some real fodder for opinion writing lately.

Anyway, cue the music, light the lights, and read my new article.  Do you think Statler and Waldorf would approve?

Friday, February 19, 2021

YouTube videos: Song parodies from The Rush Limbaugh Show

Two and a half days later and Rush Limbaugh's absence from the airwaves continues to haunt.  I tried calculating how many hours I listened to him over the years, and couldn't do it.  From summer of 1992 until I started college at Elon three years, I was listening to him at least nine hours a week.  In the past few years I sort-of rediscovered him and listened as much as possible.  There was none like him before, nobody compared when he was with us, and it is doubtful that anyone will ever really succeed him.

It wasn't just his brilliant commentary, it was also the hysterically funny comedy that was a huge part of Limbaugh's show.  Especially the song parodies.  Most of them came courtesy of a chap named Paul Shanklin.  There were a few others also.  I remember one guy who was in the Bay Area.  Another was from Massachusetts.

So in Rush's memory I thought it would be appropriate to share some of the song parodies and other material that he played on his show.

I forget who made this one.  It might have been Shanklin.  "The Philanderer", a spoof of "The Wanderer":

"In A Yugo", parody of Elvis Presley's "In The Ghetto":

This next one is a clip from "Weird Al" Yankovic's movie UHF, Rush played it on his show every so often.  The commercial for Spatula City:

One of my personal favorites: "They're Coming To Take Ross Away", a parody of "They're Coming To Take Me Away" by Napoleon XIV.  And I liked Ross Perot!

The Barnacle Brothers 60-Second Sale spot:

And finally (but far from the only remaining parody that Rush did on his show), "Al Gore Paradise", a send-up of Coolio's "Gangsta Paradise":

If I spot any more I'll post 'em here! :-D

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Rush Limbaugh is gone

 The very sad word broke a little while ago that Rush Limbaugh passed away earlier today.

I learned more from listening to his show, especially in my late teens and early twenties, than from a lot of other things put together.

Going to forever treasure the audio cassette of when I called into his show in December 1993.  I was nineteen.  I started off the call saying hey to my coworkers at Libby Hill Seafood in Reidsville.  For the next week and a half people kept coming into the place wanting to meet the guy who talked with Rush.

That's my own little anecdote about the life of Rush Hudson Limbaugh III.

Going to pay homage to him with the photo of the time when I first discovered him.  The cover of his bestselling first book.  How I'll always best remember Rush.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

New article at American Thinker: Disney's cancelling of Gina Carano

I have a new article up at American Thinker this morning.  "Cancelling Gina Carano: Work Worthy of an Evil Empire" addresses what happened last week in regard to Disney firing one of the lead actors of its series The Mandalorian (image: Disney).  Gina Carano made a post on social media that some allege was anti-Semitic and overly controversial.  But was it really?  Especially in light of the fact that others associated with the Star Wars franchise have made statements just as "controversial" and saw no repercussion.

In short: was Carano let go because she leans conservative?

As always, comments are welcome.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Taking a break

Apart from posting notification about any new published articles, I'm going to step away from the blog for the next month or so.  There are a few things on my plate, a number of projects, and I'm choosing to take time to focus on those.

'Course, if something REALLY drastic happens - like me having a near-death experience from the COVID-19 vaccine (the first shot made me sick for days) - then I might blog about that.  The second shot is tomorrow.  My right arm is bracing for it.  But anyhoo...

Y'all try to behave while I'm gone :-)

Sunday, February 07, 2021

The second coming of Babylon 5

Hey, do you have HBO Max?  Because if you haven't heard already, all the cool kids are binging on Babylon 5.


Yes, THAT Babylon 5.  The Nineties-era science-fiction television epic.  The story of that five mile long space station and the people inhabiting it, "all alone in the night."  Some have argued that it might be the single greatest television series of its time.  It was certainly ahead of that time.  Had it not been for Babylon 5 breaking the path ahead, a lot of series might not have seen the light of day.  It set out to tell a story spanning the length of five seasons, and it pulled it off magnificently.

And it has received a remaster of sorts.  The video has been cleaned up and its legendary CGI effects (which I think still hold up even today) have been sharpened a bit.  All five seasons plus the two-hour pilot movie "The Gathering" are now on HBO Max.  And it has become a raging success on that platform.

Having been a fan of Babylon 5 since first hearing about it in the pages of Starlog, I am having a hoot watching the reaction of others who are just now discovering this series.  It's definitely binge-worthy, indeed it seems tailor-made for binging.  You'll want to "watch just one more" every step of the way, especially when things crank up around the mid-point of season two (if your jaw doesn't drop during "The Coming of Shadows", you need dental work).  Actually, I envy the new fans.  They don't have to spend long months waiting for the next batch of episodes to drop.  I still remember well agonizing for "The Fall of Night" and its promised reveal of a major character.  Good times, those were!

If you don't have HBO Max, the remastered series is up on iTunes also.  I bought "Midnight on the Firing Line" - the first episode of season one - and it definitely looks much better compared to the DVD (I own all five seasons plus the TV movies collection and "The Lost Tales").  Who knows, I may spring for the entire series on iTunes eventually.

So if you've a hankering for solid television that will make you think, laugh, cry, and everything in between, you can't go wrong with Babylon 5.  And if you want to delve even further into the series, the legendary Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5 is still online, looking just as it did when it appeared in 1994.  Well worth visiting its episode guide as you progress through the show, especially for the notes and commentary by series creator J. Michael Straczynski.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Why are pro-life people so incredibly beautiful?

The annual March for Life is this weekend, albeit accommodating for the current COVID-19 situation.  Some turned out for the main event in Washington D.C. but in large part it's been a local affair.

Something I've noticed, and have for quite a long time now.  Here are some photos from today's events and one or two from last year's:


Notice anything about these pro-life people?  The biggest thing each of them has in common across these photos?

They are smiling.  They are joyful.  They are beautiful.

They look genuinely happy.

Now let's be clear about something.  They are together in common purpose: to end the most barbaric practice that this country and too many others sanction.  As Mother Teresa said when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, "the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion because if a mother can kill her unborn child, what is left between you from killing me or me from killing you?  There is nothing between."

These people understand that better than too many others may care to.

But look at how beautiful they are.

Look at the light in their faces.

What is it that unites them together, above all else?

I will tell you.  It is love.  Love for one another but also, love for those they will probably never know.  Love for innocent life.

I see their faces and they are pure loveliness to behold.

And then I think back, to four years ago.  What I saw in San Diego on the day after Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States.  There were "pro-women" marches in many cities.

What did I see?

It was something like this:

Let's ignore the brazen vulgarity of the signs being held aloft.  Although trust me, what I saw that day in San Diego was far worse.  There were also the women dressed in vagina costumes, but that's as far as I'm going to go in describing the spectacle.  It was NOT something that a sane person would want small children to be confronted with.

Look at the faces of these people.  How dour and downcast, and bitter, and empty of all joy they look.  If there is any emotion to be seen at all, it is anger.  They look drained and without sympathy or care.

There is no love that I see in their faces.  There is instead, well... hatred.

Hatred for others?  Could it be hatred of self?

There is darkness in those faces.

There is none of the joy and care and beauty among these pro-abortion activists, that there is in the faces of those who are pro-life.

On the basis of these photos and more like them, just by those alone... I know that I would much prefer to be counted among the pro-lifers.

Indeed, I do count myself as among them.  And I am not ashamed of that.

Because I do try to love others as I love myself.  Because I don't want anyone to be hurt by the grief and anguish of abortion.  Because I don't want the most innocent of lives to be ended within the womb.

I want my own face to be among those of the beautiful, however weary and weathered it may be.

Maybe next year I'll get to march alongside those who go forth in peace and joy, bound in the common purpose of seeing to it that all lives matter.  Because, they do.  Even the unborn.

Physical appearance, doesn't matter.  Not when there is that brilliant light in the eyes, in the smile.

I choose to do my best to have that light in my own eyes.

And I like to believe, dear reader, that however deep down, you want that light in your eyes, too.

Cicely Tyson's finest work

A few days ago came the sad word that Cicely Tyson had passed away at 96.  What an amazing career she had.  Actually, what an amazing life she lived.  Tyson arose in the entertainment industry at a pivotal moment for African-Americans in the medium of movies and television.  For her devotion to her craft she won every major award in the field, and a place of fondness in the hearts of her many fans.

So in honor of her memory, I thought it worthwhile to share what is easily her best performance.  The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a made-for-television movie that premiered in 1974.  Based on the novel of the same name, it tells the century-spanning story of a young girl born into slavery, who comes to witness emancipation and Reconstruction, the rise of American industry, the world wars, and ultimately her taking part in the civil rights movement at the age of 110.

It is a fascinating film.  One of the greatest to come from the made-for-TV movie genre.  Something that they just can't seem to nail this perfectly anymore.  Ideally it is a film that would be shown to every high school student.  There is a real sense of history in this movie.  So much so that The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman has often been mistaken for a true nonfiction story.  Tyson portrayed Pittman through eight decades of life, made astoundingly realistic with makeup from none other than Rick Baker and Stan Winston.

It's on YouTube.  Instead of embedding it as a playable video, I'll make it a clickable link.  This isn't the kind of movie you need to see squished up within the margins of a blog post.  Better to watch it widescreen, maybe even streaming it to your high-def set if you're set up to do that.  And as I alluded, maybe some teachers will appreciate being able to show this to their students.

Click here for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (one hour fifty minutes)

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Joseph Biden's accomplishments during his first three days of office

Let future historians note that within 72 hours of his inauguration as President of the United States, Joseph Biden has:

- Severely raised the price of insulin by rescinding directives of Donald Trump to the Department of Health and Human Services
- Deployed more military forces to Iraq
- Deployed more military forces to Syria
- Eliminated some 70,000 private sector jobs
- Cancelled permits for the Keystone XL pipeline that would have employed thousands
- Broke his promise about fracking made during his campaign for president
- Signed executive orders which will make the United States no longer a net energy exporter and will instead place the country back to relying on foreign oil.
- Eliminated women’s sports...
-  ...and by the same stroke of a pen allowed grown men into high school girls' locker rooms
- Mandated the wear of mask at any federal facility... but he and his family violated that order several times following his inauguration
- Gave access to our power grids back to China
- Admitted he did not have a COVID plan
- Stopped the border wall construction
- Rejoined the Paris Accord that subjects the United States to enormous penalties while letting true polluters of the environment - such as communist China - go unpunished
- Made the National Guard brought in for the inauguration sleep in a freezing parking garage
- Allowed Red China to violate Taiwan's airspace with military aircraft and naval vessels raising tensions in the Far East.
- Restarted payments of American tax payer dollars to the World Health Organization
- Witnessed the return of terrorism from ISIS
- Directed a supplementing of our fuels needs from Russia and Venezuela
- Lifted travel ban into the United States on countries most harboring terrorists
- Ordered the immediate release of violent criminals from Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

The preceding list was found on another forum, edited for some clarity.  Most of this I already knew while other things, like Biden's ordering the emptying of ICE facilities, happened just today.

In addition, the price of gasoline is set to soar following not only the Keystone line's cancellation but also Biden's plan to drastically increase federal gas taxes and maybe even a mad scheme to tax per mile traveled.

And for sake of any historians in years to come who may find these words and wonder about the mood of the moment:

There is no real prevailing sense among the people of America that there is sitting right now a President of the United States.  Many if not most people in this moment believe that Joseph Biden was not legitimately elected but instead came to power as a result of voting fraud.  I say "most" whether some of those will admit to it or not.  There is something very wrong with America right now, and we all know it.

The list I provided is just for the first three days since Biden was sworn in.  It does not inspire much confidence for the next four years.

Friday, January 15, 2021

If you only watch one YouTube video this month...

 ...make it this one.  This is GENIUS.  Wish I'd have thought of it :-D

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

A prediction

Five years from now Twitter will barely exist.  If it still does its market value will be significantly wiped out compared to today.

The board of that company needs to fire Jack Dorsey, now.

Even worse than other tech giants, Twitter is trying to be both publisher and platform.  It's not sustainably possible.  And it's heading toward disaster.

Expect an ever larger exodus of users from Twitter to competitors like Gab and Parler (the latter is supposed to be back online soon after its web services was yanked by Amazon, arguably against the terms of the service contract).

Friday, January 08, 2021

Project: Ghostbuster, Part 2

A few days ago I posted the start of my newest endeavor: the assembling together a Ghostbusters uniform and gear, as close to screen accurate as possible.  I said then that this is going to take some time and I'm not in any particular rush to get it done, but I think that's for the best.  In the end, this getup is going to kick serious paranormal boo-tay!

The jumpsuit upon which to sew my new patches is coming.  That's still going to be the first element that gets some attention.  In the meantime I put some Amazon gift cards received for Christmas to good use.  Check out this bad boy that arrived this afternoon:

The officially licensed Spirit brand Ghostbusters Deluxe Replica Proton Pack.  Easily the most accurate reproduction of the Ghostbusters' signature piece of equipment available in mass production.  And we are going to upgrade this out the wazoo.  Painting, adding new lights, replacing some wires and cabling, mounting it on a military-grade backpack frame... this is the basic model and by the time we're done it's going to be the fully-loaded GT.  The only really glaring inaccuracy is that it's about 20% smaller than the packs used in the Ghostbusters movies.  But I figure that as technology improved over time it meant that the tools were able to reduce in size.  That's how I'm figuring it, until one day when I break down and spend about $900 to go all the way.  Until then, the Spirit proton pack is the way to go.

Next up: the jumpsuit.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

My most serious prediction ever

Make a note of this.  January the Sixth, Two Thousand and Twenty-One.  Just before 1 p.m. EST.

If I'm wrong about this I'll eat my fedora.  No really, I will.

Here it is:

I do declare that four years from today, the United States will be in the WORST condition it has been in, in at least the past fifty years.

Hold me to this.  Do it.

I am dead-#@%$ serious.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Project: Ghostbuster, Part 1

Ed bedecked in finest Ghostbusters attire
Blame Ed Woody: one of my besties/occasional filmmaking collaborator/partner in crime (incidentally his little girl just turned one year old :-).

You see, for the past number of years I've been watching as Ed assembled his screen-quality Ghostbusters uniform.  It looks AMAZING up close and in person.  The pics do it no justice.  Just about every minutiae of detail has been replicated on his getup.  Right down to the yellow hose, which for some reason I've never noticed before.  As you can see it features the signature proton pack with neutrona wand (with modifications that make the prop light up).  And as you can see Ed has even added the special goggles that we see Ray Stantz wearing in the movie.

It is an astounding piece of work.  And ever since watching the results emerge from Ed's labors, I began to wonder if I could also have my own Ghostbusters costume.  I realized that I did.  It would be fun for the two of us to go out and bust some heads (metaphysically speaking of course).  And there are "franchises" - fan groups in many geographical areas - where people with uniforms and props do things like visit children's hospitals and help with charity work.  That would also be a fun use for a Ghostbusters outfit.

So on Christmas day, during a Facetime on our phones I opened the box that Ed and his family sent me for Christmas.  And look what was inside:


Not only a patch of the Ghostbusters logo, but a custom-made name patch.

Did Ed have any concept of the terrible, terrible beast he has unleashed?  But, there's no going back.  I gotta do something with those patches.  They look terrific!  Especially the "KNIGHT" one.

So with the patches in hand, I have decided to embark on a new project that will be chronicled on this blog: the putting together, piece by piece, of a set of Ghostbusters uniform and accompanying tools.

It's not going to be overnight.  Actually, I don't want it to be immediately.  Having a Jedi Knight costume was simple.  This is going to be much more intricate and involved.  It's going to be a study in detail and function.  It will likely take a few years before it's anywhere near complete.  But it's going to be fun.

So, what I have are two patches: the very start of the project.  The goal now is to build up the uniform beneath them.  Until at last there is going to be a photo of me wearing my own Ghostbusters costume.

It's already begun.  Since getting the patches I've spent much of the past week looking at the work of others, and catching details I'd never noticed at all before (like the "belt gizmo").  Last night I watched the original 1984 film, only this time casting a studious eye upon the costumes that Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson are wearing.  I noticed things that I'd never given any thought to before, like the frame upon which the proton pack sits.

This is going to take at least a year, maybe two.  But I think the results are going to be worth it.

First item we'll be working on: the jumpsuit.  I'm about to order it.  Let's see what those patches look like on real clothing.  Let's also see if I can sew them on without jabbing my finger with the needle.

Stay tuned.  There will be more to come.

Yay! Happy New Year!

Now, let us NEVER do that again.

EDIT 12:30 am EST:  As an aside, this blog saw 69 posts made during 2020.  That's the most since 2015!  Yes, The Knight Shift IS thriving again :-)