Saturday, May 29, 2004

Kinder, Gentler, Headier Germany... has an easier path to deporting radical Muslims. Presumably, the ones bearing gifts of UN coinage will be permitted to stay.

Every Picture...

...of every Playboy Playmate, ever.

Craig Knudsen


Some friends of mine picked up a huge pack of bone-in pork spareribs. I've got some of them in my smoker right now, with a bunch of mesquite wood chips.

Slap those ribs on the grill with some BBQ sauce, and mmmmmm...... That smoker was one of the best things I ever bought.

Here's a question -

Would you know a Medal of Honor Recipient if you met one?

There's a book out that takes a look at the living MoH recipients. I may just have to pick it up.

The contemporary photographs are in rich black and white, easing comparisons to the older images. The style also brings out the sense of quiet courage the book intends to convey. There is no bravado here. None of these men were medal hunters. The expressions are pensive, gentle, introspective. They are the faces of our brothers, our fathers or grandfathers. There is no halo around them, nothing to show that there was a time in their lives when they were called on to do great deeds. The black-and-white pictures are also symbolic of the choices these men faced, in the brief moments they had to make them. Sometimes circumstances impose conditions of surpassing danger when life loses its nuances and complexity, when action is more important than deliberation. These are the moments when character comes to the fore. Such times are rarely predictable; one cannot plan for them, nor summon inspiration from dry wells when they arrive. Having the positive qualities of character ready when they are needed necessitates always having them. Most of us will never have to face situations as extreme as those described in this book, but we can draw inspiration from the men who lived through them, and received the recognition of a grateful nation.

I've talked about the trouble that Joe Foss had getting through an airport with his Medal of Honor. Maybe on Memorial Day it might be a good idea to peruse through the list of Medal of Honor recipients, and just look at what these people did. The Army keeps a website that has all the recipients by the wars they served in. Click on a link at random, and you're likely to find stories that are normally spoken of in hushed tones.


Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 3d Machine Gun Battalion, 1st Division. Place and date: Near Soissons, France, 18 July 1918. Entered service at: Bruceville, Tex. Born: 9 April 1897, Moorville, Tex. G.O. No.: 14, W.D., 1923. Citation: Reporting for duty from hospital where he had been for several weeks under treatment for numerous and serious wounds and although suffering intense pain from a shattered arm, he crawled alone into an enemy trench for the purpose of capturing or killing enemy soldiers known to be concealed therein. He killed 4 of the men and took the remaining 4 men prisoners; while conducting them to the rear one of the enemy was killed by a high explosive enemy shell which also completely shattered 1 of Pfc. Edwards' legs, causing him to be immediately evacuated to the hospital. The bravery of Pfc. Edwards, now a tradition in his battalion because of his previous gallant acts, again caused the morale of his comrades to be raised to high pitch.

If this had happened in a movie, people would be shaking their heads and saying "Yeah, right!" But it did happen. It wasn't a movie, it was the actions of one man. And there are thousands of names on that roll.


Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company G, 118th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date. Near Montbrehain, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Fort Mill, S.C. Birth: Fort Mill, S.C., G.O. No.: 50, W.D., 1919. Citation: Having overcome 2 machinegun nests under his skillful leadership, Sgt. Hall's platoon was stopped 800 yards from its final objective by machinegun fire of particular intensity. Ordering his men to take cover in a sunken road, he advanced alone on the enemy machinegun post and killed 5 members of the crew with his bayonet and thereby made possible the further advance of the line. While attacking another machinegun nest later in the day this gallant soldier was mortally wounded.

This man crawled 800 yards and killed five men with a bayonet? Try crawling back and forth over the length of a football field eight times. Try to imagine the sounds of bullets cracking and ripping the air overhead while you do that.

These are some of the best men that America had to offer. If you see an asterisk next to their name, it means that the Medal of Honor was awared posthumously. Just take a gander through some of these names.

They're an inspiration.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Memorial Day

When you're a kid, Memorial Day really doesn't mean much. It's a day off from school, or sales at the mall. Just another holiday, like Columbus Day or some other day that just doesn't quite hold any meaning for you.

My father was in the Marine Corps for 22 years, and when he retired to Coeur d'Alene, he joined the Marine Corps League there. And I think that's when Memorial Day actually started to have meaning for me. The Marine Corps League does a lot of things around the community; they do the Toys for Tots donation drive every Christmas, they act as honor guard for military ceremony, they march in parades...

And they place flags on the graves of fallen soldiers on Memorial Day.

I don't know how old I was at the time, probably ten or eleven years old, and I remember asking my dad why there were flags all over the cemetary. His response was "Those are the graves of men who died for their country." Me, being the ever inquisitive kid, asked "Well, why did they have to die?"

That's when dad took me aside, and explained it as well as he could. Some of those men died so that I could grow up in a country that didn't kill me because I wasn't blond-haired and blue-eyed. Some of those men died so that people with different skin color could live and work and play just like the rest of us. Some of those men died trying to stop the spread of a cancerous ideology that used people up and then spit them out as lifeless husks, with no care for individuality or humanity.

Those men died so that I could sit here and type this, without fear of reprisal.

Some of those graves were old. REALLY old. Coeur d'Alene grew up around an old army fort, Ft. Sherman. The old fort site is now the campus of North Idaho College, but the graves of men who were buried from that fort are still there, worn and faded. They died making this country what it is today. Without those men, I wouldn't be sitting in this spot, or kissing my girlfriend on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. I wouldn't be riding my motorcycle on the Old Pacific Highway, or digging for clams in the Puget Sound. Chances are, without those men I wouldn't exist. Without those men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, James E. would never have moved to Long Beach California, never would have gotten married, never would have fathered little Jim, and little Jim would have never grown up to have a son of his own. Because without those men, who paid the highest price possible, James would have never gotten the chance to live, or to move to California. None of it would have ever happened.

Without those men who lay in their graves, the entire world would be different. How many of those graves are filled with men who died not just for their country, but for the freedom of another country halfway around the world? How many men died because they recognised a terrible evil, and could not stand to see it spread?

This is our chance to honor those men. And I'm going to follow Jim's advice on this weekend. There will be no ranting and raving this weekend, no partisan potshots. If I see something that makes me boil, it can wait until after Memorial Day. If you haven't read Jim's post, take a gander -

The men and women in those graves are no longer Democrats or Republicans. They are still and eternally though Americans, and are forevermore worthy of this day given but to them.

Honor the Day. Honor Them.

From their dark and silent graves, they give more honor to our Nation than any one politican, party or officeholder dares ever imagine.

Dignified beyond words, with noblility above the highest offices of government, these silent warriors speak loudly of what it is to be American.

They did not die for the Republicans. Nor for the Democrats, Greens or Libertarians.

Whether in combat, or fifty years later surrounded by only the memories of comrades long since passed, the men and women resting forever under those flags once marched proudly under that banner. They have earned nothing less than the unqualified respect of a grateful Nation, and her grateful people.

The last full measure of devotion is an awesome, terrible thing. Yet, magnificent; and it is upon the altar of their sacrafice that we enjoy the freedom of the greatest Nation in the history of the world.

Stand and salute, and remember them.

I don't think I can add anything to that.

More Examples

Of why the UN needs to be bulldozed flat.

UNWRA's Commissioner General Peter Hansen went ballistic when Israel claimed UN ambulances had been used to smuggle away the body parts of Israeli troops who had been blown up in Gaza. As the Jerusalem Post reported:

'UNWRA's commissioner general Peter Hansen is demanding Israel apologize for allegations made last week by defense minister Shaul Mofaz that UN ambulances had been used to transport IDF soldier body remains to terrorist strongholds, reported IBA news. Hansen said a letter requesting proof from the Israeli government had so far met with no reply. Accordingly, Mofaz has no reason to believe there is any truth at all to the extremely unfortunate accusation being made against UNRWA, said Hansen.'

Well, all Hansen had to do was click on the Israel Defence Force website. For there, as everyone can see, are pictures aired on Israel's TV Channel Ten showing a Palestinian gunman boarding an ambulance with large markings on its back doors saying... UN.

So, Mr Hansen, once again -- what are the UN's ambulances doing ferrying around the perpetrators of terrorist mass murder?

Found via the Rott. This is the UN that John Fonda Kerry wants to bow down before, people. This is the UN, the child prostituting, genocide allowing, corrupt, worthless, greedy, power-hungry, murder overseeing UN that the Left worships.


Call to Prayer in Michigan

Has anyone kept up with the Michigan town that allowed the local mosques to issue their call to prayer five times a day?

Short version is this: Mosques are blaring their call to prayer from loudspeakers five times a day, all over the town. If you haven't listened to a call to prayer, think of a circular saw being run through a plank and hitting several knots along the way. Normally the recordings are absolute shit, and the harmonics of the call are enough to chase cats away for miles around.

What I want to know is this: Where are all those liberals who scream and shriek about "Freedome of Religion"? Where is the ACLU? Are they too busy chasing off plaques of the Ten Commandments to bother with this? And if those calls to prayer were instead ringing churchbells, would there still be this great silence coming from the hypocritical left?

Gah. Anyways, The Rottwieller has his opinion posted for all to see, as well as a few links to other people on that subject. And the Grouchy Old Cripple has an idea who's time has come. Let's rock.

Le Bitchslap

It is Gore who has brought dishonor to his party and to his party's nominee. The real disgrace is that this repugnant human being once held the second highest office in this great land.

Ouch. Via Random Nuclear Strikes.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

More stuff people already know.

Olympia is filled with idiots, jackasses, and moonbats.

The towns around Olympia have sane people. Like Lacey, for example, as Sondra deftly demonstrates. You can wander an over and read her account of the Olympia city council meeting regardin the USS Olympia.

I've been to a rally or two with JR, and trust me, you do NOT want to get up in his face and call him a racist. Dumb idea. Bad move. Give 'em hell, JR. And I like the idea of changing the sub's name to the USS Lacey, but from what I understand it's considered bad luck to change a boat's name.

I could be wrong.

(and before I get jumped on by any psudo-sailors, a submarine IS A BOAT. Anything that floats on water is a SHIP, but a submarine is a BOAT.)

US helps another country AGAIN.

Check your news. You might actually see a blurb of this inbetween mentions of Abu Ghraib and how the US is really really failing in Iraq andohbythewayVietNam.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - U.S. and Canadian troops rushed medical supplies, drinking water and chlorine tablets Thursday to flood-battered towns, where bodies were seen floating near the tops of palm trees. Haitian and Dominicans braced for a death toll that could reach 2,000.

And hey, we can say something nice about the Canadians this time! Always a bonus. Seriously, I'm wondering when B.C. and Alberta are going to turn to Ottowa and Quebec, fist clenched, and say "Alright, assholes. That was the last straw, we're cutting you off."

I wonder, at this point do you think it would be easier to just annex Haiti into American stewardship? Talk about a country that's gone right down the shitter, and then gets hit with yet another disaster.... If we're going to spend thousands of dollars and have troops there every other year, wouldn't it just be easier to take over the country for a decade and get shit straitened out? Of course, I don't know if Haiti CAN be straitened out.

Found via Sondra K.

The Council Has Spoken!

This weeks winners in the Watcher of Weasel's council are Religion and Politics by Yours Truly, (You love me! You really love me!) and Bill Whittle's essay, Strength. You can find all the results here.

I gotta say, when compared to the excellent writing that was up for voting this week, I'm honored that the folks on the council thought well of my post. I would urge people to go check out INDC Journal's National Police Week post in particular.

Start Spreading the News........ (da da dadada)

I'm selling today.......(da da dadada, da da dadada)
Now you can be a part of it! (baBoom!)
Molon! Labe!

OK, so it doesn't exactly fit, but it's the best I can come up with on short notice.

There are some fine, wonderfull, fabulous, awsome, and flat out great people that have helped me get the word out on the Molon Labe stickers. If you have a blog, and would like to help a fellow blogger make a few bucks, do ya think you could spread the love?

Alls ya gotta do is let your blog readers know about 'em. You don't even have to write a glowing recomendation. Although it wouldn't hurt, and you'll be in my "good" column if ya do.

Just mention that you've seen these stickers that say Molon Labe if anyone is interested. Hey, I've made my money back on 'em, so anything that I make now is going into my gun fund.

My 30-06 is getting lonely! He needs a friend! Won't you help him out? Please?

Hot Diggidy! A day off!

And Oooooooooooo, it's gonna be so nice to not have to wake up at the butt-crack of dawn. I think tomorrow I might go clam digging, or maybe just take the dog for a walk along the beach. Hell, I might not get out of my bathrobe until after noon.

Days like this you gotta appreciate, ya know? And appreciate it I will.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Jury Nullification

Dave posted an article that contained a bit about Jury Nullification, but I think it's such an interesting topic that I'm going to add more about it.

For those who don't know (or don't have the time to read through the fairly long article to get to the relevent bits to this discussion), jury nullificiation (JN, for the purposes of satisfying my laziness) is a little-known tool that juries have in a trial. Basically, it means that a jury can acquit because a law is stupid. So, if I'm on trial for painting my house the wrong shade of blue in defiance of a local ordinance, a jury can decide that I'm not guilty because the ordinance is just dumb -- I mean, who gives a rat's ass what shade of blue your house is?

If you think about it, this makes sense -- people always hear a jury's verdict, but no one ever hears the jury's reasoning (unless they choose to divulge it later). A jury can acquit for nearly any reason -- bad testimony, unreliable witnesses, incompetent lawyers, insulting prosecutors... why not because the law is dumb?

The problem, of course, is really twofold: first, the legal system (at least the prosecutorial arm of it) hates it, and second, the entire concept is at odds with conservatives' objections to judicial activism.

Let's start with the first point. It shouldn't surprise anyone that the legal system dislikes JN. After all, it's a direct slap in the face to police and prosecutors. They work hard to arrest and convict, only to have some idiot tell them that the law is wrong, they were wrong, and the defendant goes free? Ouch. Of course, JN protects us from police and prosecutors as well as runaway legislators. Take the recent Martha Stewart debacle, for instance: she was convicted of lying to investigators about something that wasn't a crime to begin with during informal questioning. Exactly the same logic can be applied to me if I tell a cop that the sky is yellow when it is, in fact, blue.

Unfortunately for us, the legal system has the power to do something about this. In addition to juryless trials (quick! Recite the 7th amendment!*), the legal system has rigged the game. Defense lawyers are *not allowed* to tell juries about JN. Defenders who do can face fines and even mistrials. Also, I believe that knowledge of JN can be grounds for removing a potential juror from the jury pool (though I'm not a lawyer, so I can't be 100% sure).

In addition to procedural issues, there is also a philosophical issue to JN that just occurred to me. Consider the Supreme Court: how many times have conservatives complained about "activist judges" who overturn laws because they don't agree with them? The same thing applies here, and with similar numbers. Nine justices vs. 12 jurors -- why is it ok for one group to effectively overturn a law but another can't? One answer I can think of is the fact that SCOTUS is nation-wide, but that's an unsatisfying answer. When you get right down to it, the entire legal system is so precedence-based that there's little chance to get around it -- once a case is decided in one way, it is used to argue that all such cases should be decided that way. And for that matter, this also applies on a local scale -- a county judge can overturn laws just as well as a local jury.

Despite philosophical and procedural roadblocks, I think that JN is a very good thing -- in fact, I consider it a responsibility of the juror to consider the appropriateness of a law in addition to simple guilt and innocence.

Just don't tell a judge that -- you may never get a chance to use it.

*"In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Six signs of the end of America’s freedoms

One last quick post, to an essay I found at Kim's place.

The Coming American Dictatorship.

Read and discuss. Here, I'll start it off. I have a problem with his fifth point ("The Creating of a Professional Standing Army") The people in the military are not exactly the kind of folks you'd see at the barking moonbat protests. In fact, dare I say it, many people in the military are there because of their love for this country and their sense of duty. That undercuts his major point to that particular sign, wouldn't it?

And pay close attention to the section regarding Jury Nullification. The next time you're up for jury duty, it could come in handy.

Linky Love

It's been a while since I did the 'ol Linky Love, and I figured this would be a good time to do it. First up is Random Nuclear Strikes, who just seem to have all the good stuff today.

They have yet another explination of why John Fonda Kerry's favorite government, the UN, is worse than useless.

Teenage rape victims fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo are being sexually exploited by the United Nations peace-keeping troops sent to the stop their suffering.

The Independent has found that mothers as young as 13 - the victims of multiple rape by militiamen - can only secure enough food to survive in the sprawling refugee camp by routinely sleeping with UN peace-keepers.

Imagine your daughters being treated like that..... not a pretty thought, is it?

And Nukevet has been putting up some of the most gorgeous pictures of women...
that are not quite safe for work, by the way.

Sondra K has a good roundup of the furor surrounding the city of Olympia refusing to accept the USS Olympia visiting space. Read the stories, and then if you would do me a favor - let the CO, XO, and Boat Chief let them know that you appreciate them.

Commanding Officer CDR P.A. Marconi -----

Executive Officer LCDR M. Tesar -----

Chief of the Boat CMDCM(SS) W. Owings -----

Unfortunately, the USS Olympia has already canceled their visit to their namesake city. Which is sad, because the number of people who want to see them here vastly outnumber the barking moonbats who are shrieking the loudest. But, Olympia being the home of the barking moonbats, the city council folded like a cheap house of cards. Sad to say, that's rather typical.

Kim du Toit has recieved a few letters that spell things out rather clearly, if you care to read them.

Why we shoot women and children.

Why we attack "holy" places.

I'm sure the barking moonbats will read those titles and start howling, without ever actually READING the posts. Their loss.

That's about it for tonight. The girlfriend is heading off to Alaska tomorrow for a family visit, and I would be remiss to spend all night in front of a computer. I'll see you all tomorrow night.

More Media Bias

So, for those people who think that the major media outlets aren't horribly bent to the Left, why don't you take a gander at this?

For the most part, though, the news outlets are committing the same sins: distorting the general's meaning by omission, by skipping the ellipses (in the same places), and by making the same mistakes.

Essentially, it looks like they're quoting each other, or some apocryphal Q source material. They're not quoting General Mattis. They didn't even show up at the press conference, and they didn't bother to get a transcript or listen to the tape. But all these reporters are passing their crap off as if they were right from the source material.

Absolutely, completely pathetic.

If this is what passes for news coverage, then they ought to fire their reporters and hire some boy scouts to write for them. At least they'll be honest.

I'll echo that: Pathetic. Either the "journalists" are so ungodly incompetent that they couldn't get the transcript of the speech to get the quote right, or they're so biased and pulling their agenda that they didn't care about accuracy. But they got nailed by people who have five minutes to pull up the readily available transcript online.

Worthless and pathetic. No wonder it's called the Jurassic Media.

Light Posting

I know I haven't been as prolific as of late. That'd due to increased pressures from other sides of my life. Unfortunately, that might be the case for quite some time. I'm going to at least post once a day, so don't think I've abandoned you. I'm just caught up in little things like, oh, making sure I can pay the rent on time, that sort of stuff.

Of course, if I ever need to rant, you can expect it here.

Monday, May 24, 2004

French Prove To Be Failures Yet Again

A day after a deadly roof collapse, new cracking sounds were heard Monday inside a terminal at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, and dozens of workers there were evacuated.


The $890 million terminal was touted as a jewel of design, safety and comfort when it opened 11 months ago after several delays that the French TV network LCI said were due to safety issues.

Why do I bring this up? Besides the fact that I loath France with every fiber of my being?

To show yet another example of the fact that France is a failure. Expect more of it as it goes on. The French are a failure, and they are trying to hide it. But their economy is imploding, their military is worse than a joke, and it seems their architecture is a sham.

Can someone tell me again why we still treat France as a first-world country? Because I don't see a single reason to afford them that honor.

Mea Culpa needed

The FBI has released Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield, after determining that a fingerprint found near the Madrid train bombings was not his. Someone screwed up, big time. And the FBI needs to figure out who.

What Liberal Media? has published the results of the latest survey on the political leanings of the media.

"At national organizations (which includes print, TV and radio), the numbers break down like this: 34% liberal, 7% conservative. At local outlets: 23% liberal, 12% conservative. At Web sites: 27% call themselves liberals, 13% conservatives..."

"The survey also revealed what some are sure to label a "values" gap. According to Pew, about 60% of the general public believes it is necessary to believe in God to be a truly moral person. The new survey finds that less than 15% of those who work at news outlets believe that. About half the general public believes homosexuality should be accepted by society -- but about 80% of journalists feel that way..."

I just can't understand where these silly Conservatives keep getting these ideas about "Liberal media". Damn Right Wing wackos.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Religion and Politics

At church today, the priest gave his homily and brought up the subject of Iraq. What he said made me grit my teeth, and the theme was echoed throughout the rest of the house. I've been chewing on it ever since the end of Mass, and I think I finally have enough of a coherent thought to write about. Pardon my ramblings, though, because I'm still all over the map mentally.

During the homily, the priest brought up the fact that we were in Iraq, and stated "We haven't been so nice to some people, have we?"

No Father, we haven't. But you're doing both your church and this country a disservice by bringing that issue up without finishing it. Those soldiers from the photographs are being punished for what they did. Got it? While the fifth column press has been dribbling out a picture here, a picture there, making sure that the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was a front page news story for weeks straight, those soldiers who did those crimes are facing trials right now. One of them is already in jail, assured of at least a year in Ft. Leavenworth and a Dishonorable Discharge. He's only the first of many people who will face the music.

But the press doesn't want you to know that. It doesn't fit their agenda. So they try to make you think that these things are still happening. They want America to think that the US Army regularly tortures and abuses those prisoners under it's care. It's still going on, a picture here, a picture there, with the underlying message of it all being hammered home every hour on the hour by leftist pundits and "journalists". America is evil. America is bad. Just look at what we did. We're failing. Failure. Failure. Quagmire. Viet Nam. Failure. Horrible. Quagmire. Failure. Awful. Failure.


You just bought in to all the lies, Father. Hook, line, and sinker. And do you know what really bugs me? I haven't heard too many prayers for our young men and women who are currently in harm's way. I wonder why that is, Father? Why can't you simply pray for our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen and Marines, without adding some coda or addition on to the prayer, Father? While you speak soft daggers into the back of every service member, currently serving, discharged or retired by trying to rip the scab off of a healing wound yet again, you are dancing like a puppet to the strings manipulated by people who want America to fail.

If people want to know why the Catholic church is having problems, I think this Sunday would have put it all into perspective. I know I don't normally write about my religious beliefs on this blog, and I try to keep my faith from being broadcast or coloring much of what I write. I do honestly think that religion and politics are best kept separate. But tonight was just a little too much. These are thoughts that have to come out. The service just didn't seem to be quite real. The music was uninspired and quite honestly, cheap. Fake. Empty platitudes set to music that drags along without any life.

The churchgoers themselves were too casual, dressed in street clothes, as if they just can't be bothered to show any respect to God in his own house. I saw one woman there in her gym outfit, from the looks of it. At least, I'm calling it a gym suit, because the only other reason to wear a skin-tight hot pink sweat suit is to try to get laid, not exactly what should be someone's number one priority in church. One man showed up in jeans and an Indy car t-shirt. Would it kill him to put on a decent shirt? You don't even need a tie with it, but a shirt with a collar and buttons up the front, is that too much to ask? You are supposed to be honoring God, celebrating his love and his gifts, would it be too much of a task to clean yourself up a little bit? Seriously, just splash some water on your face, put on a good shirt, and you'd be surprised what a difference it makes! There's a reason that the phrase is "Your Sunday Best".

And then the homily, I'm sorry, but praying for peace is one thing, castigate people for an action that occurred months ago and is being investigated, it's perpetrators punished? That doesn't fly, Father. Associating the crime of a few people onto the entire Army, Father? No, I'm sorry, that doesn't fly either. The moral relativism shown in these matters doesn't fly. Chiding people for defending themselves against a group who's sole purpose is to kill, to destroy, to massacre? That doesn't fly with me either, Father. Pray for peace, but remember that God helps those who help themselves. God said to turn the other cheek, not to allow yourself and your people to be massacred, murdered in your sleep, or in your homes, or killed on a bus. God didn't say you should just sit there and allow every aspect of your life to be destroyed in a flash of murderous religious fervor hunting for seventy-two raisins, Father.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I grew up in a church that no longer exists. I can remember singing in the choir when I was in Jr. High and High school, and we were singing Latin Hymns in four-part harmony. For Midnight Mass we sang the Mass of the Shepherds, in Latin. I can still remember some of it, if my hum the melody. We actually learned the "Hallelujah Chorus" for the farewell Mass of a beloved priest, who was being transferred. I think that Handel brought Sadism into the Catholic Church, as any soprano who's sang his music can attest.

I can remember looking at the pews and not seeing one t-shirt. I can remember that kids might be wearing sneakers in church, but anyone resembling an adult was in good shoes or polished boots. Even cowboy boots had a fresh coat of polish on them. People tried to look decent in church, even if it meant putting on an old button-up shirt and a pair of worn leather shoes. And the quality of the clothing wasn't really what mattered, it was the fact that they took the effort to improve themselves before walking into the House of God. Church is the reason I first learned to tie a proper Windsor knot.

I can remember praying for the President, for the troops whenever they were deployed, and I can remember when speaking ill of the Armed Forces was considered the epitome of bad taste.

Am I nostalgic? Perhaps. But there is a reason that the churches in this country are having a bit of a hard time.

I do enjoy quite a few of the changes that the church has undergone. Priests with a sense of humor are always a plus. Much of the reforms that the church underwent seem to have brought good results. But how much has the church lost in all of this?

This isn't a crisis of faith on my part. I strongly believe in God. As I jokingly stated many moons ago, I have two unshakable religious beliefs: 1) There is a God. 2) I'm not it. But I wonder how much the Catholic church has moved away from my beliefs, how much they've changed.

I just might need to find a new church.

Bill Whittle

Need I say more? His essay STRENGTH is up in two parts.

Part One.

Part Two.

Were I involved in Education, I would make his essays required reading.