Are Ya’ll Fixin Yonder?

I can’t imagine conversing without the words: Ya’ll, Fixin, or Yonder. I know … it’s a southern/Texas thang.

My husband took his first MIL to California many years ago for special cancer treatments. The nurses and staff kept saying to him, “Talk to us.” He’d respond, “What do you want me to say?” And they’d exclaim, “Anything! We just want to hear you talk!” My husband has a deep Texas drawl (and it is very sexy – but that’s beside the point, I think).

Anyway … what are the words you use in your part of the country that you’d have a hard time living without?

And … if you’re not from the south, do you like to hear southerners and/or Texans accents?

Random Thoughts

SCOTUS and ObamaCare

I haven’t commented on the Supreme Court’s ObamaCare ruling, largely due to work-related issues that consumed the bulk of my time. But what Professor Hale has on the matter is priceless, even though my butt hurts from reading it.

The Aurora Shooting

While I can understand where Vox Day is coming from, I lean against conspiracies, although the timing is definitely quite suspicious.

As for gun rights, this shooting is a great case for an armed citizenry. A guy like Holmes is going to find ways to get the arms he needs to do bad things. That he was able to get them legally means nothing. His booby traps–which were illegal–were made with very legal materials.

Even though he was clad in body armor, getting hit with 9mm, .40S&W, and .45ACP would still hurt him, and this would have likely been sufficient to force him into retreat. Also, a face shot would have taken him completely out of the fight. Bad guys–even with body armor–almost never expect their would-be victims to shoot back. And when THAT happens, you now have the upper hand.

Personally, I hate going to theaters. For one thing, the movies suck and are too expensive. For another thing, they are the least-secured places you can be.

Chick-Fil-A, Gays, Boston, and Chicago

The whole Chick-Fil-A fracas demonstrates that conservative Christians are among the most tolerant people in the world. After all, Starbucks would cease to exist but for the conservative Christians who patronize Starbucks, which is one of the most gay-friendly companies in America.

I often frequent Starbucks myself. I enjoy their coffee. When I want a really good healthy drink, their chocolate smoothie contains 21 grams of protein while coming in at just under 300 calories. Their breakfast sandwiches are good.

Fact is, they have a good product. Their politics aren’t mine, but–you know what–I don’t go there for the politics; I like their products.

As for Chick-Fil-A, I have similar sentiments even though I would tend to agree with the Cathy family.

My theological views: “gay marriage” is an oxymoron. It’s nothing personal; there is no Biblical precedent for it, nor is there any Biblical precedent for the legitimacy of homosexual acts.

My political take: we need to get the State out of the business of regulating marriage, which is a religious institution. That should be a matter for religious bodies to handle.

If people wish to form a union that falls under government regulation, then they can form a corporation. Those are secular entities, and have greater flexibility–think multi-partner–than a marriage would. Meanwhile, we should reform the tax code to put everyone–married and single–on the same playing field.

But here’s the thing: MrsLarijani and I go to Chick-Fil-A often, and we enjoy their products. They make excellent sandwiches, their desserts are nice, and their dedication to customer satisfaction is top-notch.

Chick-Fil-A does a much better job of that than Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, or Subway.

But none of that means anything to the mayors of Boston or Chicago, who have declared Chick-Fil-A persona non grata in those cities.

Rahm Emanuel says that Chick-Fil-A’s values are not Chicago’s values. I would contend that Emanuel’s values are not America’s values. After all, most Americans believe that citizens should be able to arm themselves against would-be assailants.

OTOH, Rahm Emanuel believes in a city that is safe for rapists, child molesters, and gangbangers.

Finding That Healthy Diet/Lifestyle

I grew up on the beach and in a home where one’s appearance was valued and prized, and I learned some thought patterns and diet patterns that were not healthy. My parents told me later in life that they feared I would develop an eating disorder, and my BFF in my first wedding was extremely concerned about my low weight.

I bought into the low-fat/no-fat diets. I never was one to count calories, but I probably didn’t always eat enough for that to matter anyway. I did have many, many episodes where I became very dizzy and unable to stand up or think clearly.

Due to my Special Needs daughter’s continuous full-gut problems, I live in a constant state of research about ways to help her. In this quest I have come across Nourishing Traditions. Nourishing Traditions is not simply a cookbook, but a book filled with tons of information and help with recipes. Nourishing Traditions is based upon the Weston A Price Foundation.

There are so many philosophies out there, and lots of them are really good. This is the one that works best for my daughter, my family, and myself. The concepts are certainly on a whole different plane than my brain has ever operated before, so I’m implementing things v.e.r.y s.l.o.w.l.y. However, I’ve already seen some really positive changes in our health.

My only regret – not having this information when I was much younger … and especially before I was pregnant and had my babies. While very helpful for everyone, I think this info is most helpful for allergies, women, pregnancy, babies and children.

If interested, here are some related books/links:

Wild About Fermentation – I don’t agree at all with the author’s lifestyle and would rather he kept that, and some of his other personal pov’s, out of his book. However, he has done his research, and the book is extremely informative and easy to understand.

The Healthy Home Economist – This is usually my first resource when looking for info.

Food Renegade
The Nourishing Cook
Nourished Kitchen

Cheeseslave

Was The Batman Massacre a False-Flag Op?

I’ll comment more on this later.

For the record: I generally consider myself a conspiracy skeptic.

The short answer to my question: a qualified no. However… Vox Day makes one very good point: False-flag ops aren’t unprecedented. King David used them against the Philistines; Nero used them against Christians; Hitler used them against Poland; the Joint Chiefs of Staff almost used them against the American people; and–if gun rights groups are correct–Obama tried one against the American people via Operation Fast and Furious.

I would also agree with Vox on the timing of this matter: it seems too convenient for the gun-grabbers. Zimmerman is on trial, Obama’s administration is on its heels with the fallout from Fast and Furious, a 71-year-old man successfully used his firearm to ward off an armed attack on a cafe. Then this…in Colorado of all places.

Aurora is not far from Columbine, and about two hours from Colorado Springs, where the YWAM/New Life shootings occurred in 2007. If you’re going to have a high-profile shooting like this, Colorado fits too well.

The conspiracy theorists–many of whom I consider kooks–aren’t without a rational basis this time.

Moreover, I have my own questions:

(a) How did Holmes manage to get into that theater with two pistols, an AR-15 with a 100-round drum magazine, and a Remington Model 870 12-gauge shotgun, one or more teargas canisters, and a full set of body armor?

(b) How much time elapsed from when the person–presumably Holmes–exited the theater, and when the shooter came in through that exit? Was there sufficient time for Holmes to have left the theater in plain clothes, clothed himself in extensive body armor that included a helmet, gas mask, leg and groin protection, throat protection, and a vest for his torso? There certainly has to be a security camera from the cinema that shows the events.

(c) Where did Holmes learn explosives? The teargas he used was not something you can buy at a gun store. His extensive booby traps are not indicative of novice-level work. While one can look up explosives information on the Internet, it is one thing to read about, and a totally different matter to execute.

(d) Why did it take the cops so long to respond? There were cops present at the theater; Holmes fired well over 70 rounds in the theater; he even exited the theater when he was done, and was apprehended in the parking lot. But why did the cops not make it into the theater when the shooting was going on?

(e) Why weren’t the exit doors watched? At best, the cinema is going to be facing some serious liabilities here.

He was no dummy: his undergrad degree was in neuroscience–summa cum laude–and he was enrolled in a PhD program in neuroscience. His chemistry–and electricity–knowledge, which is a huge part of neuroscience, could have given him some know-how for explosives, but–like I said–there is a big difference between reading about it and actually doing it. I’d love to know where he got his information, and where he did his practice.

As for his firearm skills, I’d say he was well-prepared. He shot 71 people. Most of his shooting was in the dark. His drum magazine on his AR-15 jammed. That, plus the fact that he didn’t have night-vision goggles, kept the death toll from being far worse.

But was this a false-flag operation? I dunno. I would lean against a conspiracy here. I’m thinking that Holmes got involved in some very bad things, probably got disillusioned in life–apparently he opened an account on a site that ostensibly promotes sexual hookups–and perhaps even went schizophrenic.

Could government have used someone like him in that kind of operation? Yes, but that would be a huge risk. Using a mentally unstable person for something like this can easily backfire.

Then again, if he mysteriously dies in prison, it would be hard not to come down on Vox’s side.

Assessing the Hunger Games Trilogy

Yes, there are plenty of bones that one can pick with the Hunger Games (THG) series. There are substantial feminist overtones; the premise of a 14-year-old girl bringing down a country by threatening mutual suicide with her fellow “tribute”. But remember: it’s fiction.

At the same time, Suzanne Collins–throughout the THG trilogy–provides stunning, devastating assessments of our country and culture, as well as observations that may border on prophetic. If you thought that the Oceania of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four was totalitarian oppression, it has nothing on the Panem of THG.

Some warnings about the trilogy:

(1) I don’t recommend it for anyone under 16. As a Tom Clancy fan, I enjoy some good violence in proper context (Without Remorse, Rainbow Six, Clear and Present Danger anyone?)

Still, in THG, there is nothing enjoyable about the violence. It is shocking, sad, vile, and ugly all the way around. Even when antagonists die, their deaths are bittersweet at best.

NOTE: that is also one of the strengths of the book. But more on that later.

(2) While some Christians are doing much to present THG in a Christian light, this is NOT a Christian series. The Panem of THG is quite godless–God is not even mentioned in the books.

NOTE: that is also one of the strengths of the book. But more on that later.

(3) Once you get started, you aren’t going to want to stop.

Here are some major takeaways:

(a) Never–EVER–forget about The Law of Unintended Consequences. Throughout THG, The Capitol employs some of the most diabolical scientific endeavors against the citizens. The worst of the efforts involves muttations–scientific breeding of animals to create species that are used as weapons. While those muttations are often quite effective, there are times where they backfire uncontrollably.

For example, the Capitol genetically-engineered a bird–the jabberjay–which would spy on rebels and report back to the Capitol. Once the rebels figured it out, they would tell lies to the jabberjays, and the Capitol found themselves outwitted by their own weapons. Before the Capitol could destroy the jabberjays, they mated with mockingbirds, resulting in the mockingjay, which was a friendly bird for the masses.

The mockingjay–both the bird and the dynamic that led to the bird–is a constant theme of the series. In fact, the mockingjay became the symbol of the revolution, and became Katniss’ title.

(b) All killing–even when justified–has a price. There is nothing glorious about it. Even when a major antagonist dies, Collins does not present it as positive. Justifiable homicide is still homicide.

In the first book, Katniss scores her first kills by dropping a nest of genetically-designed “Tracker Jacker” insects on a group of tributes who were trying to kill her. She later shot the tribute who killed her friend Rue, in a failed effort to rescue Rue. At the end of the Games, she mercifully killed a badly-mangled tribute (Cato) who himself had been trying to kill her. Foxface–a female tribute who had not killed anyone–died after eating some poison berries she had stolen from Katniss and Peeta. All of those left a mark on Katniss.

In the second book–Catching Fire–her acts of defiance led to people being savagely murdered by “Peacekeepers”. Many tributes–in the “Quarter Quell”–willingly sacrificed themselves to keep her alive. She had to come to terms with the fact that so much death was coming because of her actions and on her behalf.

In the third book–Mockingjay–Katniss comes dangerously close to becoming exactly like the person (President Snow) whose life she sought. Fueled by the desire for revenge for the attack on her district, and the torture of Peeta at the hands of President Snow, she became more aggressive in taking the fight to her enemies.

While the revolution would qualify as a “just war”, Katniss is nonetheless adversely impacted by her participation in the violence. The cost of death weighs on almost every protagonist: Haymitch (whose family was killed after he won the Games), Finnick (who was forced into prostitution by the Capitol after he won the Games), Johanna (who had no loved ones to care for), and Peeta (who saw two slaves–Avoxes–tortured to death before his eyes). Even in the final assault on the Capitol, Katniss ends up killing both civilians and enemies, watches as her sister dies in gruesome fashion, and then scores a final kill.

In the end, though, she is no longer the 14-year-old girl who enjoyed hunting and taking care of her sister: she is a seasoned veteran, scarred by war, and clearly suffering post-traumatic effects.

(c) There is no limit to the extent that a government will assault your humanity, given the power. The Games were designed to (1) punish the districts for rebelling, and (2) remind the citizens that they are under the control of the government. In the districts, there is no free enterprise. The fruits of their labor are collected by the Capitol. Citizens live on the edge of starvation. Government soldiers–Peacekeepers–are brutal and manipulative.

The starvation conditions are used by government to get children to risk being selected for the Games: by signing up for extra grain and oil–a tesserae–the tribute is given extra ballots, which are cumulative from year to year. Many children–just to feed their families–sign up for multiple tesserae, and thus carry a compounded risk of having to fight to the death.

On top of that, the Capitol goes to great lengths to spy on their enemies. President Snow is privy to the most intimate details of Katniss’s life: including the time she kissed her friend Gale while hunting.

In Panem, the Capitol has no regard for human life, let alone anything that pertains to human dignity.

Panem is totalitarian government in all its ugliness: North Korean fascism with the best American marketing to boot. A match made in Hell.

(d) If you have a fascist, totalitarian government, and you replace it with a fascist totalitarian government whose differences with the prior government extend to merely the names of the people in it, then you haven’t materially improved anything. In Mockingjay, Katniss is a refugee in District 13, which had been presumed nonexistent. The government of District 13–led by President Coin–was every bit as brutal as that of the Capitol of Panem. Coin was as bad as Snow: just as narcissist, just as ruthless, just as manipulative. Old wine in new wineskins.

Katniss eventually comes to face this reality.

What Collins has here is an indictment of most aspects of American foreign policy over the past 70 years. We often have formed alliances with leaders, on the mere basis that they were enemies of those we despised. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This type of mindset has created more disasters than I care to mention here.

The takeaway: beware the alliances you make. That goes for your personal life, too.

(e) Your real friends are not always the people you like. Throughout THG, Katniss has a love-hate relationship with Haymitch, a cantankerous, cynical, alcoholic, surly and enigmatic mentor who–as much as she despises him–helps her and provides good advice at the most important times.

(f) Do we really want a totally secular society?* Before you answer that, think long and hard about the question. The track record of totally secular societies–in particular those run by people of a Utopian mindset–is awful, far worse than the darkest days of Vatican horror.

The Panem of THG is a totalitarian disaster. The economic system is fascist socialism: production is fundamentally owned by the State. While there are some vague references to an afterlife–after the killing of Rue–there is no mention of God, or of anything pertaining to a Higher Power.

In Panem, there is no higher authority to inform on limits to government power, or to inform of the value of human life. Both President Snow and his would-be successor, President Coin, are indifferent toward the killing of innocent people. Basic human needs–such as food–are means by which government controls people and forces the masses to do the bidding of government.

And it’s not just the calloused view of human life that we see in Panem. Government monitors and regulates just about everything: where you go, what you do for a living, who you kiss. Only the “Peacekeepers” have firearms, and nothing is private. When Gale kissed Katniss, President Snow knew about it.

While the book is clean with regard to sexual content, one gets the unmistakeable message: had Katniss and Peeta shed their clothes and had sex in the Games, it would have been a big hit with full Capitol approval.

If human life means nothing, then neither basic decency nor dignity mean anything.

And yet, while Panem is completely fictional, it is still not a far cry from where we are heading as a society.

We keep demanding more secular government, even as we demand more powerful government and greater regulation. We accept government justifications for expanded wars, even when they haven’t been shown to provide a benefit justifying the enormous cost, all while not accounting for the price these wars exact from innocents.

We fund other countries to fight our proxy wars, even though the very parties we fund will target innocent civilians.

We demand more government control of the economy, even though government produces nothing, and knows next to nothing about producing anything.

We decry the mainstream media, even as we allow it to form our understanding of issues, all in the terms that they desire to frame those issues.

As long as this continues, we are heading the way of Panem, only (so far) without the bombings. In fact, we are embracing Panem enthusiastically.

*As a Christian libertarian, I believe in the separation of Church and State, albeit for far different reasons than secularists and religious liberals do.

Longing to Be Loved

I had prayed for years for God to reveal His love for me in tangible ways this side of heaven. Most people experience that from parents or grandparents or some sort of family, but I did not. I looked for it in churches over the years but never found it there. I looked for it in friends and mentors but never found it there. I had just about conceded to the other side of heaven when I met my New Husband. How God of God to choose a man, a husband, to show His love to me, when both of my grandfathers, my dad, and my ex were all abusive men.

After three years of experiencing my New Husband’s love, I’ve discovered some humbling truths about pure love. Pure love, by its very nature, highlights my imperfections, my humanity, my depravity. And it’s within those places where my New Husband’s love for me excels, and it humbles me, and it befuddles me, and it heals me, and it sets me free to be and become all of who God designed and created me to be and become.

God created us to live in families, in community … not isolated from the world. Our family’s of origin are supposed to be that safe place where we experience this kind of love. For those of us whose family’s choose not to love this way, we long for it from every fiber of our beings. We know on some level we’re hard-wired to be loved this way.

It is not wrong to long to be loved as we are. It is not wrong to need to be loved as we are. It is excruciatingly painful when what we long for seems to elude us over and over. I do not understand why one is loved and another is not. I cannot even begin to comprehend the total depravity in this world, and why some experience it to greater depths than others. My forever-friends who grew up in safe, loving homes cannot understand me on this level, and I cannot understand them. That is not wrong, either.

No … human love cannot, and should not, replace God’s love. However, God chooses to love us through others. It is not wrong to long for that kind of love.

God also chooses to love others through us. I’ve had many, many lonely years, and I learned early on to discipline myself to love others. Truly, it is sanity to let God use us to touch and love others. And it is often discipline, too.

I cannot change your situation. If you are in a place of longing to experience love this side of heaven, you are not wrong. I wish I had fairy dust to sprinkle on you and have that love magically appear, but I do not. In the meantime, choose to allow God to fill you with His love so He can use that love to not only love you, but to love others through you. And stay very close to God. There are so many things to lead us astray in this world; keep your eyes focused on Him. Is it hard? You betcha. Very hard. But do it anyway.