A Nation of Cowards
Jeffrey Snyder suggests that carrying a handgun is both a right and a duty of every law-abiding citizen.
This is hard for me to relate to; as, for all practical purposes, no such people exist in my world.
Gun lovers’ slogans include, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Forget laws; in my world, only outlaws have guns now.
I have no impulse to join them.
Continue reading Courage to walk unarmed
Friday, May 16, 2014. There were a number of events at McD this morning that normally would have distracted me, and did not. This suggests that presence is becoming habitual — as is focus on my goals. But there may be more involved.
Roy and Jimmy sat in a booth near me, and Roy was complaining that the clothes they give him at the clothes window at the shelter aren’t always the right size. He also, to my amazement, complained about the food. I answered him silently, “If you were focused on advancing your own situation, you wouldn’t be concerned about those things.”
In the past, it has been a powerful distraction to me (scandal, offense) that so many men around me have no interest in improving their lives.
Continue reading My cup runneth over
Some weeks ago, I stood in line awaiting check-in at the shelter. This place charges $3 a night. I was holding my money in my hand, and someone playfully tugged at it. I snapped. I said, “You don’t value your life much, do you?”
Minutes later, I explained this to someone else. I said, “Don’t take a man’s last dollar.” “Why not?” he asked. I said, ” ‘Cause that’s the one he’ll die for. That’s the one he’ll kill for.”
Don’t take my last dollar. That’s the one I’ll kill for.
I’ve been on hard times since 2004. If I lose, or am robbed or cheated, of $20 or $50, that’s a pretty significant amount. But it doesn’t hurt all that much if I have more, and know more is coming. However, if I lose, or someone robs or cheats me of my last $1 — that’s the one that really hurts. That’s the one I’ll kill for.
These memories came to me as I reflected on Maggie Fox’s 08/29/2013 article, “Poor people aren’t stupid; bad decisions are from being overwhelmed, study finds.”
Continue reading Chaos overwhelms the poor
Today is my youngest brother’s 65th birthday, and a good occasion for me to pay tribute to him as an inspiration and role model.
He’s six years my senior. We have two other brothers, one 7½ and one 9 years my senior.
Let’s see if I can compose this before my Net access runs out for today, 45 minutes from now.
Continue reading “Francis” and the phonograph
I participate on a certain online discussion board. My premiere antagonist is a man who got trounced by a playground bully in fifth grade. He never fails to seek to re-enact that battle with me (or any of certain others), hoping for a different outcome this time. He casts his opponent by turns as the bully he wants to be or the chump he fears he was; and interacts with those projections. It has nothing to do with me. He might as well be playing with his G.I. Joe dolls.
Andy Kessler’s 07/08/13 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Summer Jobs for the Guilty Generation,” is little different. In his quotations of others’ expressions, I hear compassion; he hears guilt. I hear gratitude; he hears guilt. I hear hope; he hears guilt. What’s up with this?
Kessler projects his own guilt feelings onto his son’s generation. That’s easier than owning them, but solves nothing.
Continue reading Andy Kessler: Guilty as charged
All my life, I’ve been fascinated with things that glow in the dark. Where does the light come from? This is now fundamental to my understanding of prayer, and of my vocation.
The picture shows what I take for the latest advance in the world of fluorescent materials. Here are germanium nanoparticles in a colorless colloidal (gelatinous) suspension, being irradiated by ultraviolet light. By virtue merely of where they are and what they are, the invisible light that shines on these particles is changed into visible light.
The nanoparticles catalyze that process: they do no work of their own, expend no energies of their own, and take no active part in the process; but it won’t occur without them.
Continue reading Prayer primer
In many cases, you can strip away the fictions surrounding a legendary figure, and discover the historical original.
For example, there probably was a King Arthur.
Troy was a real place, and the Trojan War a real event. Achilles, Odysseus and Agamemnon were probably real people.
What about the Jesus of the Bible?
Circumstantial evidence exists to suggest there probably was such a person. Textual evidences are available to suggest what he may have been like. He may or may not have been as Christianity presents.
Continue reading Was there a Jesus? If so, what was he like?