Monday, September 26, 2022

I'm now writing for The Western Journal

The Western Journal is a Christian news and commentary website that I've respected for a number of years now.  And I am very honored that they have published my first article for it.  Hopefully, one of many more to come.

The article is in regard to a VERY ridiculous lawsuit that fast-food giant McDonald's has been hit with, for $10 billion in damages.  Seems that the owner of The Weather Channel is honked off that Mickey-D's won't run much advertising aimed at minorities on his channels.  So first it was restaurants like McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken which were blasted for targeting minorities with commercials for unhealthy food.  Now McDonald's is getting hauled to court for not targeting minorities hard enough.

Well, you can read the full article here.  And I can't thank The Western Journal nearly enough for taking me aboard :-)



Saturday, September 24, 2022

Two million visits!


 

It indeed pleases me to report that in the past hour, The Knight Shift has registered its TWO MILLIONTH VISITOR since the meter first activated in September 2004!

Thank you everyone, for making my humble little blog so well visited.  And I shall try to continue to make it worth your while to come here :-)

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Elizabeth II has passed

 

There were fifteen prime ministers, many James Bonds, four Beatles, and thirteen Doctor Whos... but there was only one Queen.

Thinking of her family and this blog's friends throughout the Commonwealth, on this sad occasion.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Back to work on my book

Dad wanted me to write a book, about my life with bipolar disorder.  He thought it would serve as an inspiration for others.  He was really proud of how I had gone forward with having a mental illness, how I was trying to use my experience with it to help others.  I like to think he would be proud still of my work the past three and a half years at a state department of mental health, where I've been employed as a peer support specialist.  I've gotten to utilize my knowledge and experience just about every day of that, toward assisting others to have more full and complete lives despite their diagnoses.

I had been working on a book, and had quite a lot of it completed, before Dad passed away in November of 2014.  And that... took the wind out of my sails, to put it mildly.  A year and a half later I left my old hometown for a year's journey across America.  And ever since a LOT has transpired that effectively make the original plan for a book, well, obsolete.

But I think that it's finally time to get back to work.  Last week I finished the prologue.  I know how it begins and I have bits and pieces in mind for the rest.  I haven no idea how to end it.  Friends have told me that since it's an autobiography that I shouldn't have a definite ending.  Maybe it will wrap up with me going into peer support: some symmetry there, from how the book begins.  The opening paragraph is me getting put into handcuffs for my first time en route to a psychiatric hospital.  Not a particularly cheery image to evoke but it happened, and I'm going to be brutally honest with this work.

It's not going to be entirely all about my life with bipolar disorder.  There are going to be other things too, like the trek across the country.  Something like that changes a person, I prefer to think for the better.  And I thought it could include the school board run, since that was so much fun and educational.

And hey, this will actually be my second book.   The first was a children's book I wrote a few years ago.  Maybe getting this one published will help me get that one to see print too! 



Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Death of a Newspaper: What happened to the News & Record?

Margaret Moffett is a journalist's journalist, and I would say that even if I had not known her for quite many years now.  She has brought her enormous talent to bear wherever she has gone, whether it was at The Reidsville Review (when we first met) or at the Greensboro News & Record, where she was reporter and editor of a number of sections.  She has earned my respect many times over.

So when her essay "Below the Fold" was published a few weeks ago, about the decline of what was at one time North Carolina's third largest newspaper, I was more than intrigued.  Having watched the fall from grace of the News & Record during the past decade or so, I wanted to see what a firsthand witness to what transpired had to say about it.

To be brief: it was heartbreaking to read.

Moffett chronicles a series of horrible management decisions on top of what was already a drop in readership typical of the industry as online news grew.  In reading "Below the Fold" I got the sense that the News & Record's fate was an avoidable one, had its leadership not been so eager to grow too big, too fast.

From Moffett's article:

The News & Record used to be a great paper—maybe not every day, but on a lot of them. 

From 1965 to 2013, the newspaper’s owner was Landmark Communications in Norfolk, Virginia, whose papers included The Virginian-Pilot, Roanoke Times in southwest Virginia, and dozens of smaller ones. (It also created The Weather Channel.) 

Landmark, which sold the last of its media holdings in 2021, was in the business of making money—though it’s unclear how much, because the company was privately held. But controlling owner Frank Batten Sr. believed in local journalism, at least enough to keep editors reasonably happy with their resources. 

The News & Record was where staff received a runner-up nod for the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1979 Klan/Nazi shootings, when white nationalists killed five people at a local “Death to the Klan” rally organized by the Communist Workers Party.

 It was where, in 1985, people lined up along East Market Street to buy Jerry Bledsoe’s latest installment of a series chronicling murders involving three prominent local families, which later became the book Bitter Blood.

It was where Jim Schlosser, propelled by innate curiosity and boundless enthusiasm, delighted readers for 41 years with articles about things he found interesting: an old building the history of Greensboro’s PGA golf tournament, urban foxes.

And it was where I reported and edited, to significantly less acclaim, from 1995 until 2018.

There were a lot of solid writers at the News & Record at the zenith of its glory.  It was the journal of record for that region of North Carolina, and beyond.  It was also where I first discovered the joys of writing for publication: first as letters to the editor, and then a few larger pieces.  I was always thrilled to see a new essay in print, knowing that it was being read by thousands upon thousands of people throughout central North Carolina.

Good Lord... what happened to all of that?

Now, this is just me talking.  Nobody else.  But I have some notions...

The biggest of them is this: the News & Record has gradually abandoned whatever principle it had of being objective and has instead turned full-bore liberal.   It can be seen in everything from its editorials to its array of columnists, to its choice of stories.  In doing so it insulted the intelligence of a vast swath of its readership, who did not care for politicizing its daily news.

As I just said, its selection of op-ed writers has become severely lacking.  Leonard Pitts Jr. is the worst columnist I have ever seen (doesn't this guy see anything beyond the lens of alleged racism?).  Gone are the days when George Will and his kind were considered cutting edge conservatism.  Even Rosemary Roberts (may she rest in peace), as much as I loathed her leftism... she still had some of my grudging respect.  I like to think she had some for me too.

Its letters to the editor reflect the intellectual wasteland that is the modern day News & Record.  When the public input is far more boisterous at the now-online incarnation of The Rhinoceros Times, something has gone very wrong.

Does the News & Record even have a regular sports page any more?  The late Wilt Browning was always a pleasure to read (even if he was biased toward UNC in basketball).  What happened to that?

So much else that I could share aloud, about the fall of the News & Record.  But I will say this in closing: I believe it can still become a good newspaper once again.  It will require some serious revamping however.  And more than a little humility as a publication.  That region of North Carolina deserves to have a journal of record, not just for its present potential readership but for all of those still to come.  Many a time I've driven past the main branch of the public library in Greensboro, and wondered at all of the print copy it possesses of Greensboro newspapers, large and small, that are deposited within.  A printed News & Record and all it has to say about the people it serves should have an ongoing presence within those walls.

I hope it persists.  But as I said, it's going to take some effort.  And maybe more than a little clearing of conscience.



Sunday, August 21, 2022

New Substack: Words of dire warning about transsexuality

Just made a new post on my Substack at christopherknight.substack.com.  I don't know who originally wrote this.  But I found it this morning and it resonated greatly with me in regard to some things I've seen firsthand about transsexuality.  It is with a seething rage that I am witnessing what is being done to kids in the name of "gender fluidity".  The youth are being told lies and getting persuaded to do irreparable harm to their bodies and in the process their minds and souls.  By the time they realize what has been done to them it is too late.

Maybe this will come as not only words of warning but also wisdom, to any person considering "transitioning" to a male or female.  Because the long and short of it is, it's not possible to do that and it's madness to try.  Perhaps this will be found by a young man or woman who is being given smooth-sounding words about their "real identity".  I hope this will make them pause and consider what it is that they are contemplating doing to themselves.

From the short essays I came upon:

You will never be a real woman. You have no womb, you have no ovaries, you have no eggs. You are a homosexual man twisted by drugs and surgery into a crude mockery of nature’s perfection.

All the “validation” you get is two-faced and half-hearted. Behind your back people mock you. Your parents are disgusted and ashamed of you, your “friends” laugh at your ghoulish appearance behind closed doors.

Click here for more.
 

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

People in Poland are cosplaying as Americans and the results are INSANE

Apparently, there are still good things about America.  And these Polish people know it.  So much so that a bunch of them have been live-action role-playing (LARP) as Americans.  Specifically, Americans in small-town Ohio.  And what has come of it is completely bonkers!

Vice has the story of the Polish LARPers, who were inspired in part by shows like Stranger Things and The X-Files (and also by Breaking Bad, if some of the photos are to be believed).  And at least two pages on Facebook (here and also here) are filled with more pictures.  Seems that these folks wanted to imitate the Fourth of July.  They certainly do not lack in their research.  These are just... wow.  It's like that Star Trek episode where the crew finds the planet that's copying 1920s-era gangster Chicago.  The cop with the donut (pictured here) is cracking me up hard.

We should do this here.  Sort of have a cultural exchange.  LARP our friends in Poland for a day.  Who's with me? :-)



Saturday, August 06, 2022

Am two episodes into Netflix's adaptation of The Sandman and...

 ...maybe I should give it time to still prove itself?

The Sandman from Netflix is attempting to pull off what most of us have deemed impossible: adapting the classic graphic novel written by Neil Gaiman, into a television/motion picture format.  This has been a project about a quarter century in development, going from one set of hands to another.  I've been a fan of the comic series for more than twenty years now, having bought the first volume about a week and a half after 9/11.  The Sandman was the literary escape I needed just then, and I've since read the entire series.  Heck, at one point I had every issue loaded onto my iPad.  

So I'm a real fan.  And I've been looking forward to seeing how it would fare as a Netflix series: arguably the perfect medium for an adaptation.

And now, having seen the first couple of episodes?

It looks right.  It's hitting on all the right cues visually.  That isn't a problem at all (though at the risk of being labeled a racist I do think that Death should be the pale goth girl that she is in the comic).  But something is off and it's making it hard for me to get completely engorged by this series.  The first episode is a fine replication of The Sandman's premiere issue, other than introducing the Corinthian WAY too early in the story.  But the pacing could have been better.  The episode ran a little long and with some editing could have spanned maybe half an hour.  There are ten episodes in this first season and I'm wondering if Netflix erred in devoting almost an hour to each one, when perhaps each issue could have thirty minutes of screen time devoted to it.

Speaking of the Corinthian, I don't really care for him being turned into the stereotypical bad guy of the tale.  Again he looks perfect, but his execution is so wildly off that it corrupts the story around him.  Then again, that is perhaps counterbalanced with touches like Cain and Abel, who are exactly like I imagined they would be from the book.

Apart from the matter of Death (which to be fair, I haven't gotten to see her really in action yet) the casting is strong in this series.  Tom Sturridge is as close to a perfect portrayal of Morpheus as we're apt to get, and he brings the right intensity and sense of vengeance to the role.  Vivienne Acheampong has won my approval as Lucienne.  In fact, other than being gender-flipped from the graphic novel her attitude and speech are pretty much how I envisioned Lucien's.  Charles Dance turns in a fine performance as Roderick Burgess, the sorcerer whose dark ritual imprisons Dream for a century. 

Yes, all the right ingredients are there.  But two episodes in and it's not resonating with me at all.

Or, maybe it really is simply the matter of being unfeasible to adapt The Sandman books.  Reading about Morpheus and the spheres he influences is a dense exercise.  It requires a fluid mind switching on and off between the worlds of waking and the Dreaming.  Gaiman weaves a thick tapestry rich in metaphor.  Which, is what the Endless (Dream and his siblings) are: anthropomorphic embodiments of the base concepts of the universe.  How does that translate off the page and onto the screen?

I suppose I'll give The Sandman a few more episodes to convince me.  But if not, there are the books and I will always treasure them for the company they have provided.  Imagination is a beautifully protean thing, and some things don't need to be seen on the screen to be fully appreciated.

But I will say this: Netflix's The Sandman it is an admirable attempt.  Maybe others will find it suits them in ways that a book cannot.  And that will be fine, too.



Friday, August 05, 2022

No, I do not "hate" anyone LGBT

Sigh...

I shouldn't have to make this post.  But as it seems how EVERYTHING today is supposed to be qualified, quantified, factionalized and most especially sexualized...

Contrary to what some have claimed, I do not now nor have I ever harbored any kind of hatred toward those who have chosen the homosexual lifestyle.  Or who are bisexual.  Or transsexual.  Or whatever.

As a Christian, I am called to not hate anybody.  I am in fact commanded to hate my own sin and my own fallen carnal nature, before I dare levy hatred toward another.  It is part and parcel to the "dying unto self" that those who follow Christ are told that they must do on a daily basis.

That does not mean however that I can or must acquiesce to any activity that is self-destructive.

And that, is what LGBT behavior is.

I've seen the damage and disease and ultimately death that is wrought by homosexuality.  Have looked at the photos of lacerated anal tissue.  Viewed images of penises wracked with things that no healthy male should have.  I have read the journal articles, about gay men and lesbians being far more prone to cancer than those who are not.  Human papillomavirus is a really nasty thing to subject one's genitalia to.  I have looked into the faces of people who have contracted full-blown AIDS, and those are eyes that I pray I never have to look into ever again.

Homosexuals have, on average, a lifespan twenty years shorter than that of heterosexuals.

Let that sink in.  A gay or lesbian person is likely to have two full decades shaven off their life expectancy, because of the all too physical consequences of homosexual behavior.

These are not things that can be "wished away" for sake of sexual license.  These are stone cold hard facts.  This is reality, that can NOT be escaped from because of one's "feelings" about the matter.

LGBTwhatever is incompatible with human design.  Its myriad of associated diseases and disorders attest to this.

How do I, as a person called by God Himself to love others, reconcile that love with the expectation that I am to celebrate a "lifestyle" that leads so very often to death?

I can not.  I can no more endorse the LGBT community than I can endorse cigarette smoking, or abusing crystal meth.  Because those are self-destructive behaviors also.

I can love homosexuals.  I can love lesbians. I can love bisexual individuals.  I can love transsexuals, though what they do to themselves is especially haunting.

But as a Christian (who fails and falls more often than not), as an objectivist who understands the concreteness of reality, as merely a human being trying to be decent... for those reasons and more, I can not love their kind of behavior.  Because when you scrape away everything else that's Chris Knight, you're left with someone who simply does not want to see anyone die.

No, "love is love" is not true.  There are many kinds of love.  There is philios: love of brothers and sisters.  There is the love of parents to children.  There is logos: the love of God.  And, yes, there is eros: love expressed sexually between man and woman.

What the LGBT community and its supporters demand we accept is not love at all.  It is lust.  And they want said lust to be without the burden of personal responsibility.  And THAT again is a denial of reality.

If you love a person... and I mean really love someone, you will NOT selfishly lead that person to demean themselves for your own desires, at risk of their health and even very life.

I love my friends.  There are men who are as close and dear to me as real brothers.  I love them and I would die for any of them.  But not for an instant have I been tempted to take it to an entirely different and inappropriate level.

Once upon a time, not very long ago, most men and women were capable of accepting that.  That love is a many dimension-ed notion and that each kind had its own unique place in the scheme of things.

We were a better people, then.  Not a perfect people.  But we were at least striving against the baser instincts of carnal nature.  And we accomplished great things because of it.

As a historian, I know also where unrestrained sexual pleasure leads a society to.  And that as much as anything else persuades me about the truly insidious nature of the LGBT lifestyle.

I could easily sit here all night, and rattle off a dozen reasons and more why I can not celebrate homosexuality and transgenderism.  Just as easily as I could tick off all the reasons why I must condemn it.

And I hope that my many friends who are LGBT will at last understand where I'm coming from.

Finally, know this: sex is a sacred, holy thing.  It is something that I believe should be celebrated within the boundaries of husband and wife.  In my sincere philosophy ALL sexual sin is equally abhorrent.  I can not disapprove of LGBT behavior any more than I can of sex outside of marriage.  That makes me come across as a prude, I know.  But there it is.  I have plenty of friends who do not agree with this.  And that is fine.  But so far as I know none of them have called me "hate-filled" or "polygamaphobe" because of it.

Sex is not a toy.  It's not something to be engaged in frivolously.  It is meant to be a sanctified act.  "The marriage bed is to be honored by all," scripture tells us.  If that was done more often, maybe we wouldn't have things like children without fathers, venereal disease and shortened lifespans.

That is all.



Monday, July 25, 2022

"Slouching Towards Fantasyland": My new article at American Thinker


American Thinker, a site I often go to for insight and commentary, this morning published my latest piece for them.  This essay addresses the leftist fantasies about so-called "green energy" and eliminating emissions.

From the article:

And then there are other considerations about the fallout from the failed fantasy.  Which would you rather have in an emergency, say, evacuating from a hurricane: a reliable car running on gasoline, or an electric vehicle without a ready charge available?  The potential loss of life from people unable to drive to safer ground would be enormous.  Or consider an electric-powered ambulance, that runs out of juice en route to the hospital with a stroke victim.

These are the realities that leftists are not acknowledging.  They refuse to accept that energy comes from something other than unicorn flatulence.  They are instead proverbially sticking their fingers in their ears while singing “La-La-La-Dee-Dah” when anyone broaches the impracticality of their intent.

Click here for the rest of the article.  And thank you to everyone who has written me e-mail about it!



Saturday, July 23, 2022

New post on Substack, about "groomers"

Still getting the hang of Substack, which may be a suitable repository for my more "political" essays.  This evening it's a post about the word "groomer", which has suddenly become quite unpopular on Reddit and other social media sites.  It is the belief of this blogger however that groomer is exactly the precise word to describe pedophiles who are determined to corrupt children...

My honeymoon with Twitter these past few months may soon be drawing to a close. In recent days the microblogging site has apparently cracked down on the use of the word “groomer”. Which has come to mean pedophiles brainwashing children into becoming potential targets for exploitation. Leftist activists claim that it’s a slur against homosexuals and transsexuals and should be banned as “hate speech”. Never mind that it can also mean things like dog groomer, “good grooming” etc.

It’s already verboten on Reddit: a site that for whatever reason I can’t remember looking at much less participated on. Maybe it had something to do with Reddit shutting down a subthingy in support of Donald Trump. So much for being a free and open forum of discussion and dialogue…

Back to grooming. I have no problem at all with using this word in referring to adults who introduce children - who are WAY too young for such concepts - to sexuality in general and the LGBTwhatever “lifestyle” in particular. Because “grooming” kids is exactly what is transpiring.

Mash down here for more.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

PBS documentary The Last One - about moonshiner Popcorn Sutton - is now on YouTube

The legend of Popcorn Sutton lives on!  Thirteen years after he tragically left us, Sutton is definitely not forgotten.  The "last of the old time moonshiners" has been the basis of many an Internet meme and last month was the now-annual Popcorn Sutton Jam in east Tennessee.  The man was the subject of a recent book packed with photos.  And word has it that his original recipe likker is selling well... legally of course.

For a number of years, North Carolina filmmaker Neal Hutcheson produced a series of documentaries for PBS featuring Popcorn.  Two months ago he posted onto YouTube a 2022 remaster of The Last One, which at the time was about Popcorn Sutton's alleged final brew of moonshine.  It's well worth a watch if you're at all a fan of Popcorn or have an interest in Appalachian culture.  It also boasts some awesome music!

 



Find more of Neal Hutcheson's work on his Sucker Punch Pictures YouTube channel.



Sunday, July 17, 2022

BEING BIPOLAR, Part Ten: Anatomy of a Depressive Episode


Being Bipolar is a series that began in the winter of 2011.  It's an occasional attempt to explore aspects of the life of a person with manic-depression, or bipolar disorder if you will.  It's never meant to be a regular feature of The Knight Shift.  It comes along whenever "the time is nigh" for another installment is called for.  In this series I do my best to be as honest and forthcoming about this condition as possible, within reason.  As with anything else of this kind of subject matter, it should be noted that I am not a medical professional.  So don't take anything written here as solid medical advice in the way of drugs etc.  If you need immediate assistance, please go to the emergency rom of the nearest hospital, or call 911 on your phone.  You may also find a great deal of assistance from a local support group, such as those sponsored by National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org).

 

For the past three years and nearly four months I have been a peer support specialist employed by a state department of mental health.  That's supposed to mean that as someone "in recovery" from mental illness, that I'm in a unique position to help others who likewise must deal with having emotional and behavioral disorders.

I wish that I could tell you that this means that I have a handle on my own diagnosis.  But over the course of nearly a year now that assumption has been solidly put to rest.  Because I've discovered that in many ways I'm the same way I am now that I was six years ago, when I first left my old hometown of Reidsville, North Carolina and began looking for a new home.  That was supposed to have been a fresh start for me (and my dog Tammy).  And for awhile, when we initially set out, there was that breath of fresh air that comes with expanding one's horizons.  With casting destiny to the winds of the Lord.  And then came a year after setting out, and a situation that triggered my bipolar disorder as it had never had been before and what led to friends having me live with them until I could get my mind situated again. That was five years ago and I'm no less thankful for them and what they did for me.

Maybe it was "the plague" that triggered me this time.  Nothing has been the same since COVID-19 came (and I was hit with it this past December, I'm pretty sure I caught it when some friends and I went to see Spider-Man: No Way Home because they came down with COVID also).  I worked from home for more than six months and it changed me.  Made me consider and reconsider my life.  I got the "vaccine" early on, because my job puts me at the forefront of public health (namely visiting patients at their homes among other things) and in the year and a half since then I've come to wonder if that was such a wise thing to have done (it's not being called the "clot shot" for nothing, but I digress).

Back to being a peer support specialist and being in recovery.  The more I have recovered, the more I have found that I still have a long way to go toward that.  It's a lot like "the Hell Curve" that I first described in 2011: I'm forever getting closer to that Y line of total recovery, but never going to cross it or even touch it.  I realized that even before last September, and the day my neighbors found me dancing in the rain in my sweatsuit and socks and trying to open other people's car doors.  I don't remember that at all.  Neither do I remember the next day and being found lying face-down next to the road beside my house, my face beaten up like hamburger from the fall onto the asphalt.  Eleven months later and I still can't wink my right eye without feeling some residual pain.  None of that, I remember transpiring.  It was all because of a medication reaction between my "current" meds and one that I have since stopped using.

I lost very nearly a solid month of work because of that incident, which encompassed one week spent in a mental health facility while I was detoxing.  It led to some changes of my work: changes I haven't been crazy about (no pun intended, or is it?).

Long story short, this past week and a half or so I've had a depressive episode that wrecked havoc with me in nearly every aspect.  Were it not for taking care of Tammy, my miniature dachshund, there is no telling what I would have been compelled to do during this time.  Depression sucks the vigor and vitality out of a person.  Takes away nearly every interest including the desire for eating (and sometimes not even getting up to use the restroom, which is no problem if you're not ingesting food anyway).

Today the episode finally began to abate.  I must thank many friends on Facebook who I reached out to, who have been lifting me up in their prayers.  I hope that I can be just as much there for them when they need my own prayers.  I have pretty much wasted an entire weekend except for this afternoon.  So I thought, maybe since it's fresh in mind I could do another Being Bipolar installment (it's only been THREE YEARS since the last one!).

This depressive episode crept up on me.  In hindsight I can see that it was bedeviling me for almost the past two weeks.  It's been so severe, and I was so subconsciously holding it at bay, that I didn't realize it was happening until two days ago.  During this episode I was robbed of any interest apart from the meanest of caring for myself and my dog.  I was eating candy bars for breakfast and nothing else for lunch or dinner.  I fed and watered Tammy but I didn't feel like playing with her.  She "gets" me when I'm like this.  When I curl up on the sofa, unable to move, she curls right up next to me.  Tammy understands me even if no one else does.  I'm pretty sure that I lost some weight during this time.  When I went to see a doctor this past week I had lost seven pounds since the previous visit about two months ago.

My hygiene has suffered.  I went two days without showering for work.  It didn't seem to matter.  I just didn't care.  I brushed my teeth, but that's mostly out of dire habit.  Something ground into me about seven years ago when I realized what depression was doing to my dental care.  I haven't lost any teeth and I don't intend to.  So whenever I eat or drink something I'm inclined to brush immediately afterward or at least as soon as possible (which has become a religious ritual after getting home from work, before I even take Tammy outside).

I have been trying to cook better for myself (thanks in no small part to the encouragement of a good friend, hello Heather!).  A week and a half ago I visited the nearby grocery store and pharmacy to pick up two prescriptions and I had no other interest in shopping for anything else.  Well, I take that back.  I did purchase a box of Froot Loops, and that was "dinner" for a few days.  But again, my overall desire for a good meal had evaporated.

Interest in fun things and activities crashes and burns.  All that's left are the ashen remnants of something that once moved you.  I've been stoked about the current season of Stranger Things lately.  Especially the music.  I had been listening to the soundtrack and reveling in the return of "my kind" of music.  But interest in any music has gone away during this episode.  I've tried to make myself watch stuff like The LEGO Movie, a film that I usually adore, but that failed to move me too.

Depression has caused me to lose interest in my work.  Has led me to seeing it as all a vain effort.  I haven't been able to help others, in the way that I usually can and have loved doing.  I drove a patient to a physician's appointment this past week and I was barely talking at all, when usually we are readily engaged in conversation.  He could sense that there was something wrong, and he told me as much.  It has caused me to forget tasks, has made me indifferent during phone calls to patients.  It's ironic, that I work in a mental health office and my own mental health has caused that work to suffer.  But then again, my life has been filled with a lot of cruel irony.

This coming Wednesday would have been the twentieth anniversary of my getting married.  A marriage that was destroyed in vast part by my bipolar disorder.  I still can't make sense of that.  It was something I was committed to as much as anyone could commit to something.  And it wasn't enough.  Why did God let me have something that was going to wreck such havoc on an institution that He Himself created?  That has been a thought that has run rampant through my mind during this time.  I suppose that no matter how happy I might be, I'm going to forever be running that through my mind.  It hasn't been made any easier because of this latest episode.  And the proximity to the date has only made it worse.

Strangely, my faith in God this time is something I'm not doubting.  A quality that I must ascribe to not only my friends' prayers, but to all the other times I've had depression.  In its lesser moments I can find myself able to pray, and to solicit prayer.  I don't doubt God, even when it seems the depression is something cruel He lets happen.  I have to remind myself that being a Christian does not mean an escape from pain: something I wish I had known during the first few decades as a believer.

I would be remiss if I did not mention, that there have been moments during this latest episode when I have not wanted to be here any more.  When I've actually prayed to God to please let me die.  But that's a different thing from having full-fledged suicidal ideation.  Something I've come to learn increasingly during my work with those with mental illness.  It's almost okay, maybe perfectly "normal", to have thoughts about not wanting to be alive any more.  It becomes something else entirely though, when those thoughts turn toward contemplating getting a knife to open one's veins, or ingest a whole bunch of drugs and hope that they will lull one into an eternal slumber.  I will admit, that I have tried the latter at least twice.  Both times failed, thankfully.

Also thankfully, the episode seems to finally be abating, and maybe writing these words out is aiding toward that.  More irony: I've lamented in the past week or so that I haven't been able to write anymore, and here I am, composing a new blog post.  Not just blogging but really pouring my heart and soul into this new installment of Being Bipolar.  Maybe if I can write this, perhaps other things that I've thought I'd lost will come back.  Writing is a gift that I first realized I had when Mrs. Rutledge in my freshman year of high school told me I had.  I've been trying to use, develop and hone that gift ever since.  Manic depression over the past two decades and more took a LOT out of me toward that.  Maybe writing this post means I still have it.  Maybe I can write more.  Perhaps even work anew on that book that Dad wanted me to write.  Dad was proud of me.  I was very fortunate to have had him in my life.  I want to finish writing that book, and dedicate it to his memory.

And, that's all that I know to write about this latest bout with bipolar depression.  It is my "dark fountain": a term I have been it from the very beginning, when it first erupted in the spring of 2000.  Its black waters trying to swallow and drown me, and I doing everything that can be done to keep my head above its currents.  Maybe writing about it this time will help to stop the fountain, if only for a little while.

Maybe doing this will help others also, who are going through their own times of depression.

If so, please know: you are not alone.  There IS help.  Your local mental health department is one resource.  So are groups like National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI (nami.org).  If you are in a severe crisis, you can call 911.  It's okay, it really IS an emergency.  And as of yesterday there is a simple three digit number - 988 - that you can call to get help from a national suicide help line.

And if you need a friend to talk to, I'll do my best to be here for you.  My e-mail is theknightshift@gmail.com.  I've communicated with quite a few people over the years that Being Bipolar has been a feature on this blog.  I'll do what I can to be here for you, too.

 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Internet Archive has EVERY issue of Starlog for your reading pleasure

Okay, this has apparently been up for a decade or so already but only now am I learning that Internet Archive has a collection of EVERY issue of Starlog: that tome of science-fiction goodness that many of us savored every month.  Originally devoted to keeping the embers of Star Trek burning in those years between the original series and the movies, Starlog soon expanded to cover anything and everything pertaining to sci-fi and fantasy, be it in film or on television or in literature or whatever.  In the decades before the advent of the Internet, it was magazines like Starlog that kept our appetites whetted for whatever was coming new out of the genre.  I dare say that it broadened a lot of minds, to things that they otherwise might not have considered.  I for one might never have read a Philip Jose Farmer novel, were it not for an amazing two-part interview that Starlog did with him in 1990.  That's in this collection.  So too is the night in 1977 that George Lucas went to a convention and replied "he's Luke Skywalker's father" when asked what was the deal about that Darth Vader guy.  There was a lot of thoughtful material, some really inspirational stuff and more than a little humor to be found in the pages of Starlog and it makes me feel good knowing that it's out there to be discovered by new generations of geeks.  Mash your mouse down here to find it again, for the first time.



Monday, July 04, 2022

Stranger Things and me

On July 1st I was having a severe headache, that had persisted since the night before.  I went home early from work and took some medicine and quietly prayed that I would be feeling better soon.  Because I did not want to miss volume two of the fourth season of Stranger Things on the day that it had dropped onto Netflix.

I haven't written nearly enough about Stranger Things on this blog.  Actually, I don't think I've written about it at all.  When this is a series that for the past six years has absolutely arrested me whenever a new season has been released.  The first part of this latest season premiered on the same day as Disney+'s Obi-Wan Kenobi and having seen both of them in their entirety now, there is no question as to which is the superior show... and I say that being a hopeless lifelong Star Wars fanatic.

So, about Stranger Things.  This show debuted in the summer of 2016, when Tammy (my dog) and I were journeying across America looking for a new home.  We were in Albuquerque, New Mexico when I finally decided to see what the big to-do about this show was about.  So one morning after taking Tammy out for a walk around the hotel (where she had become a big celebrity, they let her run up and down the hallways to her heart's content) I showered and shaved and put on clean clothes and then pulled out my iPad Pro and curled up on the bed and began watching the first episode, "The Vanishing of Will Byers".

My friends, it is RARE that any television series sucks me hard in from the start.  I can probably number them on one hand: Twin Peaks, Lost, maybe a few others.  Stranger Things had them all beat, with even fewer episodes.  After witnessing the death and destruction going on inside Hawkins Laboratory and the title credits (which I will never fast forward past, not for this show) the episode cuts to the basement of Mike Wheeler, whose friends are engaged in an hours-long Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

That's what did it.  That's what hooked and reeled me in.

This is a series about "my kind" of people.  I grew up in the Nineteen Eighties also, just as Mike and Will and Lucas and Dustin are in Strange Things.  I "get" them and the world they inhabit.  This show has captured and conveyed that perfectlyStranger Things is a homage, a love letter, a monument to all that made the Eighties so amazing.  Ronald Reagan was President of the United States.  Vietnam wasn't long ago at all and our country was locked in cold war with Russia.  Comic books were mostly read, not adapted into blockbuster movies at the drop of a hat.  We listened to Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper and Devo and Eurythmics.  On television He-Man was constantly outsmarting Skeletor and Mr. T was shouting "Suckal!" on The A-Team.  We quoted from movies like Star Trek II and we speculated about Star Wars Episode One which was probably just three years away.  And kids still did things like ride their bikes to their friend's house and hang out for hours after school before the phone rang and it was Mom telling you to come home for dinner.

We were young people who lived under the threat of nuclear annihilation at any time and chose to make the most of the moments we were given.  I think that when The Day After aired in the fall of 1983, it drove the point home that much more.  It made us cling ever more so to that fleeting sense of childhood.  And now, forty years later, I think many of us are still clinging to it.  There isn't going to be quite the same reminiscing about the Nineties or the Aughts as there is now about the Reagan years.  In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and I think we all knew that the Iron Curtain's days were numbered.  It was the sheer weight of the Eighties come smashing against that bulwark of the old ways.  If only that same spirit could still prevail against people like Putin who seem determined to restore the Soviet Union to it's former borders.  But, I digress...

Back to Stranger Things.  I had watched the first two episodes and then came the only interruption that day was when housekeeping came around about eleven.  I picked up Tammy and we went and got lunch and went for a quick walk and came back to our room.  And I binged the HECK out of the rest of that season.  It is VERY seldom that I binge watch anything... but I kept having to see "what happens next?!?"  At last we came to the Byers house at Christmas, watching this family that had endured so much over the past month... before shrieking anew at the sight of that thing from the Upside-Down coming out of Will's mouth.

Albuquerque did many things to me, in the five weeks that I was there.  Leaving town as a new fan of Stranger Things is one of them.  I don't lend my fanship to many things from pop culture.  But Stranger Things more than earned it.  And when we hit the road again the first season soundtrack was playing loud from my car's stereo.  It was as good as anything to listen to as we set out again across the New Mexico desert.

Season two came a little over a year later, and we were in decidedly different environs: living for awhile with friends in South Carolina.  It hadn't been the ending of our traipsing across America that I had originally intended.  But for the situation, it sufficed and even bore some fruit that I had not imagined.  Once again, I binged Stranger Things on my iPad Pro, pausing only to take Tammy out.  Season two ended well, but lacked the "bang" that I was expecting.  It did have a resolution that I was happy with though, especially Mike and Eleven dancing at the Snow Ball.

Season three... ahhh yes.  July of 2019.  Months before "the plague" hit and stopped everything in its tracks.  Who could have guessed that this would be the last Stranger Things that we would get for another three years?  "Not I, said the dog."  Speaking of which, by this point Tammy had become WELL trained to use the pee pads I set down for her.  So there was very little interruption while binging season three.  I started at about eleven and finished with "The Battle of Starcourt" around 8 and by that time was wiped out.  What a rush!  And not for the first time I thought that the show had perfectly captured the Eighties.  We really did use to hang out in shopping malls, ya know.  Most of them didn't have Soviets tunneling beneath them though, thankfully.

And that was all until May of this year, when I watched the entire series again, only now taking time to pause every so often and tend to other things.  I wanted the show to have room to "percolate" in my mind, instead of assaulting the senses full-blast.  By the time season four premiered I was refreshed and ready for the new episodes.  I took half a day off from work so that I could get home and started watching the next season... which is something I have not done at all for the Star Wars series on Disney+ and likely never would either.  Season four was split into two "volumes" by Netflix, because the last two episodes are so long.  After finishing volume one's "The Massacre at Hawkins Lab" I just sat there stunned and dazed.  And all I could think of was "how are they going to top THAT??"

Well, the last two episodes of the season came out three days ago.  I took a few hours break between them.  And it dropped my jaw hard on the floor too many times than could be counted.  And then came those final minutes, as Stranger Things theme music began then developed into a full instrumental composition, as our heroes see what's falling around them...

Yowza!  Season three had cliffhangers.  Season four has everyone dangling from that cliff by their fingernails.  It was eight hours before I could fall to sleep.  No episode of television since Lost's "Through the Looking Glass" has had that kind of effect on me.

So now we're awaiting the fifth and final season of Stranger Things.  I am hoping and praying that there will be a panel for the show at this year's Comic-Con, and that they'll announce production of the new season beginning soon after.  But I will trust them to get it right.  The Duffer Brothers, the creators of Stranger Things, have done all right so far.  They have given us what is perhaps the best written and finest acted television series currently in production.  I can wait.  Even if it's another two years, by which time I'll be fifty.

Which seems the perfect time to enjoy a series about the years when many of us came of age.



Friday, June 24, 2022

Roe v Wade... is DEAD!

Today is the REAL "Juneteenth".

Behold the wild celebration outside the United States Supreme Court a few hours ago, as pro-life activists uncorked the champagne and raised a toast to the overturning of Roe v Wade:


This gentleman is Scott Stewart.  He is the Solicitor General for the state of Mississippi.  He is the attorney who argued before the Supreme Court that Roe should be overturned in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health:


Well done, counselor!

 

This is Nancy Pelosi.  She claims to be a good Catholic but she's not really.  Why?  Because she believes unborn children can be killed in the womb.  Here you see her weeping bitter tears after the Dobbs decision was handed down:

 


 

I'm not going to bother posting a picture of President Biden.  He's not a real president anyway.


This is the man who sent three justices to the high court, who voted to get rid of Roe:




And see this guy?  This man here?  That's Clarence Thomas.  Today is the biggest day he's had on the court since he came onto it more than thirty years ago:




This is your victory as much as anybody's, Justice Thomas.  Enjoy :-)


EDIT 5:28 pm EST: a good friend found this on Facebook and it was too good not to share...


 

Happy Birthday Justice Thomas!




Thursday, May 26, 2022

On Manhood and School Massacres

I notice that all of the school shooters have been male.  Never female.

Two things I can take away from this.  The first is that based on this pattern it can be deduced that indeed there are drastic differences between men and women.
 
The second thing I take from this, is that there is something TERRIBLY wrong with how our society handles its young men.
 
The average boy once had a father, or at least a father figure, to look up to and learn values from.  Values came from a lot of sources actually.  The Boy Scouts, religious institutions, even teachers and principals.  There was some authority figure who young men learned from. Learning everything from simple decency, to how to accord one’s self in honorable fashion with the opposite sex.
 
And then there is the basic psychological needs of young men.  Needs to compete, to “prove himself”.  Needs to achieve.  Needs for wisdom and learning.  The need for self restraint from falling to the lesser aspects of human nature.  These used to be virtues of what was called “chivalry”.
 
From all of these and more, we prepared young men for their roles in the larger world.
 
We used to anyway.
 
Want to know what I blame this latest school shooting on?
 
I blame modern liberalism.
 
Our young men are increasingly without a father figure.  There is rarely anyone to tell them what is right and what is wrong.  The fathers among us should be going to bat for their children’s very souls… and they are failing.
 
Young men are denied the right to explore moral certainties… because in our “modern” world there are no moral absolutes, at all.  How can there be?  When our children grow up being taught that innocent life can be vacuum aspirated out of the womb.
 
Young men today no longer play “cops and robbers”.  The “child experts” took away all of the toy guns.  They apparently never grasped that such childhood playtime was actually instilling the VALUE of good versus bad.
 
All of these have been taken away from young men and instead they are over-medicated, under-educated, and have it constantly drilled into them that their natural hard-wired instincts rather than being benevolently curbed, are instead “toxic masculinity” to be punished.
 
We do all of these and more to our boys and young men.
 
And we dare lay blame on the damned GUN when another massacre happens?
 
We have DESTROYED what it means to be a man of virtue and character, that we were supposed to be teaching our young people.
 
And I can think of no more responsible parties for it, than those who adhere to modern liberalism.
 
Just my .02
 
 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Rapid Fired Pizza: When you absolutely need it fast!

They promise "zero to pizza in 180 seconds" and they are not wrong.  I hadn't visited Rapid Fired Pizza  for some time now.  Guess I've been trying to cook on my own more, and I've been learning some new recipes (including quiche, thank you very much Heather :-).  But I was coming back from a friend's birthday party yesterday evening and had the craving for a good pizza.  So I went to one of Rapid Fire's locations here in upstate South Carolina.  By the time I'd finished, I had vowed that I'd make myself a more regular customer, because their pizza ROCKS!

Rapid Fired Pizza for the most part uses a standard 11-inch pan.  Atop the dough you tell the guy assembling your pizza what kinds of sauce, toppings, spices and salt etc. you want on it.  Or you can pick from their menu of their many craft pizzas.  After that's done (and while you're paying for it all) the pizza goes into a big oven, where it cooks for three minutes.  By the time you've gotten your drink and found a seat they will have called your name to pick up your cooked pizza pie.  Take it to your table and enjoy!

So, what's Rapid Fired Pizza's errr... pizza, taste like?  As you can see I got a pretty standard pepperoni and mozzarella cheese (and a Dr. Pepper soft drink).  It arrived good 'n hot and I discovered that I had forgotten the childhood agony of hot cheese dripping off the slice and onto my tongue.  Yee-OUCH!!  But it doesn't take long to cool to a more palatable degree.  My taste buds delighted in the rich flavor of the traditional sauce and what can only be described as the perfect crust for a pizza chain.  The pepperonis cooked nicely and had a good bite to them.

In short, my dinner was a true delight.  And as I said I'll be going back more often.  Either dining in or taking a pizza home with me on the way back from the office.

Rapid Fired Pizza is a franchise that's seeing some growth.  They're mostly based around Ohio but there are a few locations beyond that region including four in the Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina area.  And according to their website they're also expanding to California.  So check it out and see if there's a location near you.  It's well worth making a visit!
 


Saturday, May 07, 2022

What the leaked majority opinion REALLY does

 I'm seeing a lot of outrage about the leaked draft of the majority opinion overturning Roe v Wade. Much anger about destroying a "right" to abortion. But for all their screaming these people are showing us that they have NO grasp whatsoever of what they are screaming about.

Justice Alito's draft does NOT end the right to abortion. It does however articulate that the federal government has no standing in establishing such a right. The opinion is of the belief that Roe erred when it legislated into being a notion that the federal government had no constitutional basis in creating.
 
All that the majority opinion is arguing, if it is indeed the final say in the case at hand, is that the issue of abortion is one that per the Tenth Amendment is the sole province of the individual states. Which is exactly where it should have been given to almost fifty years ago.
 
So now it is going to be up to state legislators, who have been voted into office and who are beholden and accountable to their constituents (i.e. the voters), to decide if abortion will be legal in their respective states. It will NOT be a "right" whipped out of thin air by a judge or group of justices who do not answer to the people, but instead act upon their own politics.
 
This is a return to the balance of powers established in the original Constitution and then the Bill of Rights. Nothing more and nothing less.
 
This is stuff we were supposed to have learned in ninth grade civics class.
 
But I suppose too many politicians, and celebrities, and "useful idiots" in the streets, never paid attention to.
 
 

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

My first op-ed piece was about abortion. This is what happened...

During the four years I spent (of my seven year undergraduate career... ehh, family tradition you might say) at Elon, I was on the staff of the student newspaper The Pendulum.  First as a reporter but mostly as an op-ed writer.  It was a continuation of all the letters to the editor I had been sending the bigger newspapers.  I figured that being an essayist for my school's paper would provide for constructive feedback.  Well, that and also having a more captive audience.
 
My first column was published in March of 1996.  And for the subject I chose abortion. Mainly, why it was destroying our capacity for the value of the human soul.  The heartmeat of the argument was that we were numbing ourselves to the sanctity of human life, and I kicked the piece off with a quote from Mother Teresa.  It was, I thought, a solid essay.
 
Naturally, it touched some nerves. This being a fairly liberal private school (albeit one with a sizable evangelical Christian presence).  A number of people contacted me and said they were glad somebody was standing up for the unborn.
 
But there was hate also.  By the end of that weekend I think three or four death threats had come my way.  I took it all in stride.  To me, it only meant that three or four additional people had read my essay and took it seriously.
 
But then, there's what happened the week after that issue ran.
 
I had come down with the flu, with a 102 degree fever and of course like an idiot, I was walking around campus.  I was with two friends that day, and we were going into the library.  The original building that is, before Elon's new one a few years later.
 
Two people were coming out of the building and, to this day I can still hear the voice of one of them as she got into my face and said:
 
"You stupid pro-life fucking piece of shit."
 
I was so feverish that it took several seconds for what she said to fully impact me.  I asked one of my friends if he heard that and he said yes.  Our other friend hadn't been able to make out what she had said, so we told him.  He immediately wanted to go and confront her, but we dissuaded him.
 
Here it is twenty-six years later, and I still see the face of that young woman, warped with anger and hatred.
 
If she had only kept her thoughts to herself, I would likely not be as I am today: someone who sees the pro-abortion movement as one composed of some very ugly people.  Ugly in heart, ugly in thought, and ugly in face.
 
Have you ever looked at pro-abortion protestors?  They don't smile.  Not smile like normal people do.  Their faces aren't filled with love and light as are the faces of pro-lifers.  Instead the pro-abortion protestors are angry, dour, mean and filled with hatred.  The two could not be more unlike each another.
 
If only that fellow student (no, I don't know her name and don't really care to either) had not confronted me as she did, I might be able to give the pro-abortion side the courtesy of hearing them out.  But that possibility has long passed.  There is no courting civility with people so dark and rife with rancor.
 
A quarter century later, and I am no closer to communion with people who so blatantly advocate terminating the life of an unborn child for "convenience" sake.
 
Be mindful of the impression you make.  It persists, and maybe longer than you ever mean for it to.
 
 

Monday, May 02, 2022

Monsterpocalypse Board Game is coming at ya!

Several years go, this blogger went a little nuts over Privateer Press's Monsterpocalypse.  The kaiju-inspired miniatures game became a staple every week at friendly local game store HyperMind.  I ended up collecting a complete army for all the factions that got released.

Then something happened: Privateer Press sold the rights to a Monsterpocalypse movie.  The project - which was to have been helmed by Tim Burton - did not get made.  And the game languished in licensing hell for several years.  And then a few years ago Privateer Press brought Monsterpocalypse back: as a "hobby game".  The minis were no longer pre-painted, although they were somewhat larger than the original models.  By that time I wasn't feeling up to getting into the game again, though my love of the concept was always there.

Well, call Monsterpocalypse the franchise that just won't die, because soon there'll be ANOTHER way to get your kaiju-crushing kicks!  A few months ago Privateer Press announced along with Mythic Games the coming of the Monsterpocalypse Board Game:

Look!  Game trailer!

 
 
A Kickstarter campaign followed and it was very successful at meeting its aims (I think the final "stretch goal" was the mini of a giant radioactive corgi dog).
 
The project is now on Gamefound, where you can do a late pledge for the core game along with any of the add-ons... and there are MANY.  The game will be released for retail sale but if you want to get in on it sooner (estimated shipping date for the Kickstarter product is November 2022) you'll want to go to the above link on Gamefound and get at least the Smasher pledge.  That'll snag you not only the Core box's eight monsters, you're also getting the unlocked fifteen other monsters: that's at LEAST a seven hundred dollar value for $119.
 
Needless to say, I'm back in the game.  I pledged during the Kickstarter and have since tacked on a few of the add-ons.  Especially the Simian Corp one (because really, who can resist giant monkeys and evil conglomerates?).  It's a great deal and if you like giant monsters and robots thrashing the crap out of each other, you're DEFINITELY going to want to check it out!


Wednesday, April 27, 2022

I've watched this Batman parody ten times today

 It's the latest film The Batman movie but with Adam West!  Check out the Batmobile!

 



Sunday, April 24, 2022

Anxious for nothing, prepared for anything

How I have not been diagnosed with some kind of anxiety disorder, I may never know.  But it is true: I have been anxious too awful much for anyone during these past several years (and by "several", I mean two decades at least).  Especially too anxious as a Christian, when I should have been waiting patiently for God in His time.

A few weeks ago a dear friend gave me a copy of Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World, by Max Lucado. I'm about halfway through it so far.  First of all, I am delighted to discover that Lucado is still writing.  I first became introduced to Lucado's work about twenty-five years ago, when I was just starting my life as a Christian.  It became some of the more influential literature during my early walk with Christ.

Second, it has been quite some time since a book other than those in scripture convicted me of something.

I've been anxious to the point of falling prey to fear.  In many aspects I have been paralyzed by fear.  Fear of too many things.  Especially of being alone.  And I have been so filled with fear of that, that it has prevented me from enjoying some potentially wonderful blessings in my life.

And this may come across as silly, but I'm ashamed of myself as an Eagle Scout.  To be an Eagle is to "Be prepared" for whatever comes up in life.  Including those things that bring about anxiety.  I should have been meeting those issues head-on, confronting them with a heart without fear, instead of letting them get the better of me.  I have paid a price for my lack of preparedness.  But maybe it's not too late to do something about that.

"Anxious for nothing" comes up in Philippians, chapter 4, verses 6 and 7...

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

I should have been bold in presenting my requests to God, but ready and humble enough to accept whatever His decree was, whether it was "yes" or "no" or "wait".  I like to think that what He has been telling me all along, though I wasn't very accepting, was to wait.  I couldn't wait, and it led to me making some mistakes.  I have finally come to realize that I wasn't prepared for the blessings He had in mind for me, until now.

What would my life have been like, had I been prepared with a heart of courage instead of one capitulating to anxiety?

I will never know.  But I don't have to know either.  Something interesting about God, that my best friend told me a long time ago: we can't mess up with Him.  No matter how much we make a mess of things, He is always several steps ahead of us.  He may not set things straight the way we want Him to, but he doesn't have to.  Whatever we do, if we acquiesce to His will, does give Him the glory and the honor.  And in the end that's what it's all about.  When He answers our prayers and gives us good things, well... that's simply the cherry on top.  And one that a glad heart will be prepared to enjoy to the utmost.

A week ago as part of my "blogging for Lent" I shared my testimony for the first time.  That was twenty-five years ago, when that happened.  I am astounded and thankful and too many other adjectives, that God has been working in my life throughout all this time.  Because I am coming to see, now, that He has not forsaken me.  That there never was any reason to be anxious.  And He has been graceful enough to carry me through all this entire time of trial and tribulation.  Growth came of it.  I have to believe that more than that came of it also.  And I look forward to seeing what comes of that.

Anyhoo, it's a great book by Lucado.  I'll give it a hearty recommendation.  Well worth reading!



Thursday, April 21, 2022

The CDC: Too much power given to an agency

One February morning in 1997, I was at a gas station in Burlington, North Carolina.  At the counter someone was complaining about new cigarette laws requiring that people under a certain age must show their photo ID.  He said it was a stupid law.

"Wait, let me explain something," said the bearded man behind the counter.  "What you are protesting against is not a law.  You are instead protesting a regulation.  A law is something that has gone through the legislative process and is voted into being by people that you vote for and who are accountable to you.  You don't get to vote for people who make regulations.  They can do whatever they want to do.  They don't answer to you at all."

It remains one of the most eye-opening exchanges I've ever witnessed.  It changed my perception of things.  Ever since that morning, I have cast a wary eye on things like mask-wearing: is it a law, or is it regulation?

For the past two years the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has mandated wearing of masks in public places.  And worse, there have been the mandated "get vaccinated or else" proclamations.  Most of those have come from decree by Joe Biden (I refuse to honor him with the title "President").

NONE of this has been "law".  Congress did not order masks or "vaccinations".  That's what unelected government bureaucrats ordained.  And no matter what a sitting president demands, he or she does not have the authority to insist that civilians get jabbed (the military is another matter, and the Supreme Court just decided 6 to 3 against members of the armed forces who want to refuse the shot: Thomas, Gorsuch and Alito were the dissenting justices).

Masks and "vaccines" against COVID-19 have become the most egregious and blatant power grab in American history.  Thankfully, earlier this week a federal judge struck down mask mandates on public transportation.  You may have seen the photos of airline passengers tearing their masks off and rejoicing.

The Biden "administration" hates that.  And they are already trying to appeal it or work around the judge's decision.

Remember people: it's NOT a law that we've had to be putting up with for the past two years.  It's a REGULATION.  One whipped up out of thin air by our alleged "betters".  A thing dreamt of by people we don't vote for and who will probably never be held accountable.  For the damage and injury done, both physical and mental.

I received the COVID vaccine very early on.  As a health care worker, and someone who is in constant contact with the general public, getting "vaccinated" made sense.  I'll never know if it worked to ward away COVID.  I do know that I contracted COVID late this past December (the symptoms were mild).  But in hindsight if I had a chance to have a do-over, I would not have received the shot.  As much as being an "up yours" to people like Fauci and Biden as it would be to regard my own health and well being.

Remember: if the mask mandate comes back, you don't have to comply.  Because that's not a real law at all.  And it never was.