Sunday, August 20, 2017

Northwestern Prof and Test-Tube Baby Wyndham Lathem Returns to Chicago!

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Wyndham Lathem was born August 10, 1974. He completed his AB in biology at Vassar College (1992-96). He was a research technician at Rockefeller University from 1996 to 1998 in the laboratory of James E. Darnell, Jr., and earned his PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in microbiology (2003) in the laboratory of Rod Welch. Wiki entry

Wyndham Willoughby Lathem is his name and he was born and the immediately graduated from . . . Vasser.  Vasser went co-ed in 1969 - five years before Wyndham was born . . somewhere.

The biggest mystery in this summer-break slaughter on North State is the Northwestern University and Chicago Media code of silence surrounding the place of birth and the wonder years of Wyndham Willoughby Lathem.

  • We know he didn't go to De La Salle, or he might have been groomed for Mayor
  • We know he is not a member of Polish Highlanders
  • We kno0w he never belonged to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge
  • We know that Professor WWL didn't 'play some 'Ball' at Mount Carmel
  • We know that he is not from Amish Country near Arcola
  • Could he be a Yellahammer from Custer Park?
  • Had he a membership at Essex Rod and Gun Club?
  • Did Wyndham take the Mikva Challenge?
  • Was young Wyndham a 'test-tube' baby?
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We know that his boon chum from Old Blighty was on holiday and that all and sundry (back home) are shocked . . .shocked, I say.  to learn in the Guardian that Andrew Warren, an Oxford University, bean counter, might have possibly had a hand in this murder-most-foul of young hair-dresser Trenton Cornell-Duranleau.Image result for Northwestern Faculty Wyndham Lathem

Was Professor Purple Wildcat, unbeknownst to his Pukka Pomey Pal ( Capt. Andy -above),  a Deep State player as well as a Lake Geneva Library patron?

Well the boys are gonna be back in town!

Expect no news.

Jimmy Hoffa's gravesite is easier to find,  thanks to the Medill Omerta Code. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Telling the Teacher to Shut Up, If He Knows What's Good for Him.

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Having a classroom full of willful, energetic and smart teenagers listen to your lesson with attention, wonder and, if possible affirmation,  is a joy beyond imagination.   Having done so for forty-two years, is a satisfying career that continues at a much slower pace.

I was taught to teach honestly - give the full story.  I did, I hope.

One of the secret pleasures of Facebook ( that is the extent of my social network: can't text and I use an "Old Guy" flip phone . . .for Phone Calls!1!).  Since my daughters encouraged me to open a page, I have reconnected with hundreds of kids ( now in their 40's, 50's, and 30's) who sat packed in historically uncomfortable desks and bought what I was selling - literature, philosophy, history, shared truth and the world contributions to leading a good life.  I taught Catch 22, A Separate Peace, Moby Dick, Heart of Darkness, Confederacy of Dunces, Paradise,Vanity Fair, Grapes of Wrath. USA Tilogy, It Can't Happen Here,  Canterbury Tales, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Adventures of Augie March, Native Son, Invisible Man, the plays of Shakespeare ( especially the English War of Roses and the Roman Plays) Euripides, Aristophanes,Aeschylus, Sophocles, Raisin in the Sun, the philosophical works of St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Spinoza, Descartes, Rousseau. Voltaire, Berkley, Hume and Russell's History of Western Philosophy.  The historical texts of Xenophon, Thucydides, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, Francis Parker, Henry Adams, Malcom X, Barbara Tuchman fleshed out the a study of man at his best and worst.

I introduced my students to a book The Peoples History of the United States in 1980 and explained that it was Red nonsense in clever packaging.

I taught Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here a dystopian America addicted to fascism.  Strangely some of the kids who loved that rather brittle and sloppy novel are now devotees of later day Buzz Windrip's who are telling everyone to get in line, get on the right side of history, shout with Move On. org, Organizing for Action, AntiFa fascists and the book burner historian Howard Zinn.

None of this stuff is new. It is merely 1930's American Stalinism in velcro pants. Image result for 1930's American Communist postersImage result for 1930's American Communist posters
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  • If you are not with us; you are against us!  
  • We have the ghost of Tom Joad and Pete Seeger walking before us!  
  • We are the People. 
  • The Boss needs you; you don't need the boss.
  • Organize the workers to control the use of their labor power,
  • Workers of the world, awaken! 
  • Which Side are you On???!

A few of my brightest students, sadly swallowed Howard Zinn whole and subsist on his diet of class envy, race baiting and scab yanking American history.

A former student bemoans the fact that I voted for Trump.  Get in line.  Now, in order to goat my sensibilities, indicated that my vote is dog whistle for my intrinsic panophobia and hateful nature.  I'm a Nazi, a Klansman, Lynch Mob psychopath and a moral coward, this fine young gent opines.

Glad to have introduced you to the world of ideas.  They are your's to ignore.

I found his jibe unworthy of his intellect, but there you have it.  I am like the Jewish teacher of the SS man in the brilliant series The Holocaust.  "Thanks for your wisdom, but you are on the wrong side of history. Now, let me help you step up into that boxcar Herr Doktor."

I responded to his snarky reply, "You can remind when your crowd carts me off to the Reeducation Camp."
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There is no getting away from it - the young man was a straight A student.

Erase history and then start erasing the people who know it.

Oh, it can happen here.  It is already happening.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

President Trump Screwed Up - Big Time. The Iconoclasts Own Oxygen, Now

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"the image acts or behaves as the subject itself is expected to act or behave. It makes known its wishes ... It enacts evangelical teachings, ... When attacked it bleeds, ... [and] In some cases it defends itself against infidels with physical force ..."  Byzantine art in the making: main lines of stylistic development in Mediterranean art, 3rd-7th century 1977. 

"To compare these propagandistic installations to the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial is either profoundly ignorant or deviously brazen." Eric Zorn- pencil neck geek and Chicago Tribune Columnist

Why?  To compare Canfields lime sparkling water to beer might be profoundly ignorant or deviously brazen.  Might be.
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Eric Zorn likes to proclaim without substantial explanations - things just ARE with Eric Zorn; hence his title for the attack on the Rebs, Nazis, Bigots and profoundly ignorant or deviously brazen: No, in fact, removing the statue of Robert E. Lee doesn't put us on a slippery slope

Slippery Slopes are what people with common sense, schooling and good manners keep an eye out for to avoid future problems. Drinking alot of beer from dawn to dusk is a very slippery slope to chronic alcoholism.  It happens and will happen again to ladies and gents who attend services at Bob's Husky Barstool - open 7 AM.

I like Canfield's lime sparkling water.    It beats beer hollow.  I love beer for the "tingle on the T'roat" and unlike sparkling wines beer never caves in the noggin, unless one sips his Pilsner from a gallon punch bowl.

These days, I enjoy sparkling water much more than beer.  All the tingle and none of the post dissipation problems.  There are no Cook County Toni Taxes, or any Field Sobriety Test anxiety after taking the wheel with an ice-cold can in the cup-holder.

Life is good!  I can walk into the local tavern and order up a pint of the clear with a citrus wedge, beneath the iconic Guinness Toucan sign without pangs of anguish and pain for those yet enslaved by demon rum, Happy Cossack Vodka, Devil IPA, or wicked wine.

Some sober drunks get offended by billboards, bar signage and anything romanticizing strong drink.

Slipped down a nasty slope, when casino gaming opened in Indiana.  My wife died and I entertained myself with a few hands of poker.

I have a gambling problem. I don't gamble - buy lottery tickets, go to casinos, wager on the Bears, purchase raffle tickets, or play the stock market.  I follow the GA way, attend daily Mass and Holy Communion, face my problems of the day and try and let go of any and all resentments that turned me from a sweet-natured, thoughtful guy into a degenerate gambler with all the stupidity that brings.

My Dad told me that I was on a very slippery slope, but he had not gotten an advanced degree from Loyola University.  He only walked picket lines for a two cents an hour raise and had his head opened by scabs, fought Race Supremacists from Bougainville to Iwo Jima and helped create the post-war standard of living.

I read Conrad, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chaucer and Thackeray - I knew all about gambling degenerates.

Since I arrested my gaming development, Illinois has opened mini-casinos in Pizza joints, Laundromats,  Sub and coffee shops, Slot parlors and saloons.   Chicago and a few suburbs do not allow slots.  Outside of these local governments - Viva Las Vegas  in LaGrange!

Some recovering gamblers might want to go all Carrie Nation on these joints and tear down this celebration of human slavery.

A recent research reveals that in America, approximately 2.5 million adults suffer from compulsive gambling, about 3 million are considered problem gamblers, around 15 million adults are under the risk of becoming problem gamblers and 148 million fall under the low risk gambler category.

Slavery is evil.  We are all consumed with what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia last week.  A score of people were nearly killed and one young woman was murdered by a Klan/Nazi idiot.

Politicians jumped to side of the angels - anyone not carrying Tiki Torches, Swastikas, Stars and Bars Reb battle flags, or spouting Race Identity Politics rhetoric spiced with Jew-Hatred.  Folded into this hateful human goo were the 63 million people who voted for Donald Trump. The AntiFa of Altleft marshalled their junior justice leagues to confront the hate-filled White Nationalists and White Supremacists with Red Flags, mace, sticks and stones and anyone who voted for the President and thinks that erasing history is the slippery slope to genuine tyranny.

President Trump made this possible.

President Trump screwed up - Big Time, as likes to say.  The plain spoken slave to Twitter was silent.

I would have gone personally.  I would have gotten up into David Duke's  whited capped grill and run that voice of losers (Rebs & Brown Shirts) back to his flat in Moscow, where he belongs. Trump could had his secret service agents shield him among people who genuinely hate racism and wedged away the Potemkin Village commandos of the Revolutionary Communist Party, International Solidarity Movement and of course Communist Party USA. 

There is no moral equivalency - the Rebs and Nazis had the stage much longer and Reds had gone under-ground while schools dumbed down history.

Here in Chicago, where a public school teacher encouraged his students to tell the media that 'they' came up with the idea of changing the name Stephan Douglas Park to Frederick Douglas Park, because the Little Giant loved slavery more than preserving the Union, Jesse Owens who embarrassed Der Fuhrer at the 1936 Berlin Olympics is buried along with 6,000 dead Rebs at Oak Woods Cemetery on 63rd & Cottage Grove.  The 6,000 Rebs died of cholera, starvation and cold in Camp Stephan A. Douglas.

There are Confederate icons at this graveyard.  President Trump opened the door for the iconoclasts to begin tearing things up, down and out.

Trump screwed up.  He would have lost nothing if he had publicly chastised Duke and the other Aryan pipsqueaks and turned his caustic wit upon the clowns wearing storm trooper gear and vowing to save the statues of Marse Robert. Instead, Trump opened the door for more slings and arrows, leaving the people who voted for him to drain the swamp to wallow in the mud with the self-hugging later day Lloyd Garrisons - if you do not agree with me, you are worse than the white robed  bigots and should join a local Einsatzgruppen. 

Trump is as bad  at healing the nations wounds, as Obama.  Trump could have made this massacre a great moment - a defining moment.

He didn't. His wife and kid did, but the President did not.  Trump opened the door to simpering and cowardly Iconoclasts of elected office and the media to suck all of CO2 out of the atmosphere.   Governors Cuomo and McAullife,  two practiced grifters in government are leading the efforts of the morons to tear down the false idols of the Confederacy.

One of the most oleaginous ink-slingers for the Cook County Banana Republic, Eric Zorn offers his pencil neck to the vanguard of book burners, grave robbers and statue topplers.

Many readers responded to my Wednesday column calling for the removal of all public honors to the Confederacy with variations of this slippery-slope argument.
What else should be destroyed or banned in the name of moral failings, asked my correspondents triumphantly: The Roman Coliseum? Fulbright scholarships? The Declaration of Independence? The song “Dixie”? Wrigley Field? “Gone With The Wind"? . . . It’s not, however, a particularly interesting or difficult debate when it comes to those who took up arms against the United States for the purpose of preserving human slavery.
Where do we draw the line? Gee, I dunno, but somewhere well this side of the leaders of the Confederacy — the politicians and generals known almost exclusively for their prominent roles in a murderous, doomed act of mass treason.
It’s an easy distinction. Washington, Jefferson and other flawed founders built this country. Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and other rebels tried to tear it apart. Unlike Washington and Jefferson, they have no significant compensating virtues or accomplishments to counterbalance their treachery and justify the numerous honors and tributes bestowed on them as symbols of Southern “heritage.”
Southerners erected many statues and monuments to such men decades after the Civil War as de facto middle fingers to those who battled segregation and demanded equal rights and opportunities for blacks.   
To compare these propagandistic installations to the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial is either profoundly ignorant or deviously brazen.
Eric draws pay from a paper that founded by the most hateful of the Nativists, Joseph Medill, who swore to hand Catholics from street lamps and later founded the American Protective Association that controlled American universities to keep out Catholics, Jews and Negroes.   This paper 'evolved' but still hates Catholics, Jews and keeps blacks snugly within the arms of cyclical poverty with policies meant to maintain the plantation.

Eric called people who objected to the legislation that ended marriage as a family consisting of a mother and father for the purpose of having children, profoundly ignorant and deviously brazen in 2012.

I will not debate the morality of various forms of private sexual conduct between consenting adults and neither should our lawmakers.
To me, immoral conduct is that which harms others, period. To you or your religious tradition, it may encompass much more, and that's fine. Advocates aren't asking you or your officiants to bless gay marriage, celebrate it or even, in your heart, to like it. They're asking you to recognize the line America tries to maintain between personal morality and the judgment of the law; between what's your business and what's none of your business.
Unless your business is making wedding cakes, and you are being sued out of business, Zorn.
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Erasing history is tool of tyranny.  Stalin mastered the art.  ISIS has destroyed every vestige of Iraqi and Syrian Christianity.  Byzantine iconoclasts not only destroyed statues and icons, but murdered thousands of people.Image result for oak woods cemetery confederate mound

Wrigley was a Klan supporter.  Medill was Nativist bigot.  Zorn works for the bigot's newspaper - that is some slippery slope?

Only if one happens to be profoundly ignorant or deviously brazen.

Iconoclasts Matter. I'll drink a Canfield's lime to that.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Catholic Schools, Charlottesville and The Idiot in the Classroom

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One encounters very few 'idiots' in Catholic high schools.  They are led away from folly or disciplined to control their impulses.

Go to any Catholic high school next week.  Really.  Pop in on one. Go to the Office and make your presence known and listen.   You will be astounded by the . . . quiet.

Catholic schools succeed because they are free, for the most part, of idiotic policies that do nothing to help young people learn to master literature, history, math, science,music, art and theology.   The best Catholic schools have empty halls during class periods and the 36 or so actively engaged males and/or females are being engaged by someone with a command of the discipline being taught.

More than often, in single gender and many co-ed Catholic schools, those teachers also coach most of the sports and moderate the extra-curricular clubs and activities.  That is even more conducive to classroom management, because the young people engage the instructor 'beyond the classroom walls' and learn that the guy in the tie, was also struggling to get both legs over the high hurdles, while maintaining a B+ average, working part-time and coping with adolescence.   Shared goals and sweat make easy alliances and seed respect.

Catholic schools are diverse, but not daffy about it.  I have yet to witness a Selma moment at Bishop McNamara, Bishop Noll, or Brother Rice High School.  In 21 years at Leo High School, situated in Auburn Gresham and south edge of Englewood, I watched a dozen white boys from suburbs and Canaryville USA bond with hundreds of black gents from Englewood, Brainerd, Gresham, Chatham, and Grand Crossing.  The Canaryville guys took the Halsted bus from 79th to the Ville without incident, when the school vans were unavailable for transport home.  Two dozen Mexican Americans fared even better.  One white boy graduated from Leo and of the dozen or so Mexican lads, one graduated as a Gates Scholar.

There were dust ups.  The "N" word was used, back and forth in the more heated debates over Hip-Hop artists, Hillbilly music and places in the offensive line.   Some times words came to blows and both colors sat in detention,  " That Irish N@##eer ( redhead from St. Gabe's) said Vic Mensa's from O Street!!!!!   N@##ah' stays near 62nd & Stony Island. "

Such distinctions are very important to sophomore age male egos.

At Brother Rice there was even less attention made to skin and more to ego and placement in the upcoming football line-up.  One Blue-chip African American junior stands 5'6" and already has D-One colleges asking for the diminutive but elusive Seniors season highlight disc and his arch-enemy  a 6'4" offensive lineman and Blue-chip wrestler will challenge one another in every class they over ability, toughness, endurance and appeal to the fair sex.

That is the reality of American racism that I see most days.

Here is what the delicate creatures of the Chicago Tribune editorial board announce, having wached cable news for three days of coverage on the idiots and blood shed in Charlottesville, Virgini, "America does have a problem with racism, with anti-Semitism and many other forms of bigotry and intolerance. That's no secret. The question Americans must confront every day is how will they respond." Bruce Dold et al. 

The Tribune's application of the modal auxiliary assures all and sundry - America has a problem with race . . .and with Anti-Semtism ( when conflated by Zionism, Gaza, Palestinians, neo-Stalinist rhetorical flourishes, or matters of policy).

No. Charlottesville this week was a gathering of idiots left and right with an emphasis on right.

Charlottesville and Chicago Tribune editorials concerning race relations should be treated the same way a good Catholic high school teacher/coach treats someone's cherished and darling nitwit, attention demanding idiot and sophomoric time assassin - chided and isolated with warm sarcasm, until he gets with the program, " Mr. Hickey, our discussion concerns analyzing Steinbeck's monster metaphor from chapter five of The Grapes of Wrath, join us or spend some quality with Kenny moving tables for the Circle of Champions over the next two Saturdays."

The Class was not inattentive.  Hickey was an idiot . . .again. Let us not dwell on idiots, let us learn that Banks to Steinbeck were like the living dead - zombies with an insatiable appetite for human beings.

Racism : "[t]he theory that distinctive human characteristics and abilities are determined by race"  was only used by a human being for the first time in 1930's by Communist, abortion and gay activist Magnus Hirschfeld.

That is the root of the term.  What it truly means is something else and I do not believe that I have witnessed overt acts racism anywhere, but by a few idiots on television.  I used to see Nazi dress-up losers on Kedzie at 63rd Street but they seem to have disappeared.

Lives matter.  Tiki torches not so much.

Go to any Catholic high school and watch lives being lived and one or two malleable idiots getting straightened out.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Game of Thrones and Theology: Varys and St. Callistus I

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“Power resides where men believe it resides. It’s a trick. A shadow on the wall. And a very small man can cast a very large shadow.” Varys -Game of Thrones

It is matter of doubt, moreover, to no one, that the church of the apostles is the mother of all the churches, from whose ordinances it is not right that you should deviate to any extent. St. Callistus I

 Game of Thrones (GOT), like many good dramas from John Ford's 17th Century blood-tragedy T'is Pity She's a Whore to Deadwood, offer pot-holed paths to God.  

This is a Vale of Tears and so is HBO's Westeros.   As if things are not normally bad enough, Winter is Coming, or Here Already: GOT's Army of the Dead is on the march and our Kardasian Kultur is trying to get its head around Kim Jong Un.  Obama NSA Chief Susan Rice says, “History shows that we can, if we must, tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea — the same way we tolerated the far greater threat of thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War,”  I mean, Dennis Rodman likes him and Seth Rogan made a movie about how funny he is - what's Trump's problem? Leave him alone.

Back to our fictional world of Westeros and one its more interesting characters - Varys.

Varys, AKA The Spider, is a former slave, eunuch and sorcerer's apprentice who ammassed political power and position by becoming a One Man Drudge Report - Varys gets the News before it is fit to print and acts accordingly.  He is the ultimate City Hall insider of any City he happens to glide through.  With venom and honey, Varys proves that knowledge is power, until knowledge shifts.  Enemies like Little Finger and the goatish old Grand Maester Pycelle.

Varys, like so many Mandarins at City Hall, the County Buildin, or the White House, uses information to remain viable, necessary and alive.   Most people find these deep state types - off-putting. Truth becomes an expendable expedient with them and they come up with convenient 'truths' like Chicago Values.

Varys reveals himself to be a very good hearted Mandrin.  Varys wants peace, justice and order and will create chaos to bring this about, all the while doing what he can to protect the brilliant and ethical dwarf Tyrion Lannister, as well as dim Samsa Stark.

Sexually ambiguous, Varys has flocks of "little birds'  orphans and street urchins who are his information highway and to whom he owes much of his power.

Most of the people of Kings' Landing assume he satisfies his desires with his "little birds" but this seems unlikely as Varys has never shown any malice or desire towards his spies, and he has himself stated that he would never seek to harm a child. Varys admits that, after his castration, he did sell himself sexually for a while in his struggle to survive the slums of Essos. However, he took no enjoyment from it- and, after witnessing so much cruelty take place in Westeros and Essos as a result of desire, he claims to be relieved that he can no longer experience it.
That is a core quality.  Core qualities, like core truths are anathema to the current secular PC morality, driven by class envy, race hate, gender victimization and academic fraudulence.   Core truth is was brings human being together and ultimately to God.

At the turn of the 2nd Century AD,  there lived a Roman slave by the name of Callistus.  He was brilliant and his master put him charge of a bank.   Like the Gospel of Matthew ( 25:14-30), Callistus invested 'creatively' seeking to increase his master's wealth and that of bank clients.  Unlike the gospel message, things did not pan-out for Callistus.

The bank went bust and Callistus tried to make things good by getting the people he made bad loans to pay up, he incited a riot at a synagogue was sentenced to the mines - Sixteen tons and deeper in debt.

With bribes and broken promises Callistus weasled his way out of the mines and found work tending the Christian cemetaries for Pope Zephyrinus, not the brightest Pontiff in the drawer.  Soon Callistus became an Archdeacon and Bishop, much to anger of right-living ecclesiastical pharisses like the historian Tertullian and anti-Pope Hippolytus, both contempraries hated his guts and wrote his obituaries:
During the subsequent reign of Pope Zephyrinus, Callistus became a deacon and the caretaker of a major Roman Christian cemetery (which still bears his name as the “Cemetery of St. Callistus”), in addition to advising the Pope on theological controversies of the day. He was a natural candidate to follow Zephyrinus, when the latter died in 219.
Hippolytus, an erudite Roman theologian, accused Pope Callistus of sympathizing with heretics, and resented the new Pope's clarification that even the most serious sins could be absolved after sincere confession. The Pope's assertion of divine mercy also scandalized the North African Christian polemicist Tertullian, already in schism from the Church in Carthage, who also erroneously held that certain sins were too serious to be forgiven through confession.
Considered in light of this error, Hippolytus' catalogue of sins allegedly “permitted” by Callistus – including extramarital sex and early forms of contraception - may in fact represent offenses which the Pope never allowed, but which he was willing to absolve in the case of penitents seeking reconciliation with the Church.
Even so, Callistus could not persuade Hippolytus' followers of his rightful authority as Pope during his own lifetime. The Catholic Church, however, has always acknowledged the orthodoxy and holiness of Pope St. Callistus I, particularly since the time of his martyrdom – traditionally ascribed to an anti-Christian mob - in 222. 
Callistus was a generous soul who forgave human frailty, but was resolved to bring all Christians together.

Like Varys, Callistus was sneered at and slighted by his less talented rivals.  Both men were born slaves, suffered many indignities, served cruel masters and retained their core virtues and lived for others.

Game of Thrones is a fine Cliffs Notes aid to learning how to get back to God,  Winter is  Coming.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Game of Thrones is Theology

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Two of my favorite characters from Game of Thrones - Arya and The Hound

I love the HBO series Game of Thrones. This fantasy medieval Continent of Westeros is peopled by folks like us.  Like our world and its history, Westeros is place where vice, betrayal, incest, sodomy, devil worship, megalomania and brute force appears to clear the way for a seat on the Iron Throne.

That is the basic appeal, for me anyway.  The worst of us always seem to avoid cancer, heartbreak, neglect, disappointment, favor and position.  The best around us seem to die too young, bear burdens unimaginable, pay the checks and receive scorn for their best efforts.  Just like life in Westeros.

The Captain of the State Championship Football team diddles his sister, murders the kid next door and is appointed by the Ward Committeeman to stand for the Cook County Board.

Just like here.  There are a few good people in public office, (name two) but there are more dummies, grifters, power junkies and cowards smiling over the crowd of hapless helots passing out their palm cards at the polling places every election.

If all of this seems rather depressing to you, it should not.

Life is not Sesame Street, it is more like Westeros, whether we live in Cook County, Pyongyang, or Kenebunkport.

Oprah, the Frugal Gourmet, Phil Donahue, NPR, Bill Moyers Barack Obama and The View numbed us for decades that we should all worship ourselves.

Game of Thrones, like Deadwood, Boardwalk Empire, the Wire and other cable dramas appear to have snapped us out of our stupor.

We are not all that important. The world is a Vale of Tears, get over yourself.

We are all redeemable - St. Augustine, Mary Magdalene, Ignatius Loyola, St. Olga of Kiev, Mary of Eygpt, St. Dismas and St. Callsitus, the Whitey Bulger of Rome all managed to turn things around before their obituaries were written.

We are all lovable to other people - even Donald Trump, even Cercei Lannister.

The great Chicago writer John Kass is a huge fan of Game of Thrones.  He recently challenged me to give some examples of " stone cold killers " and crooks who salvaged their souls, like the delightfully thuggish Hound - a knight without pity, but great sense of irony.

This beast serving cruel masters has made an ocean of blood from his victims, some of whom offered him a place on a cold night and the last of their food.  The Hound breakfasted by slaughtering the widower and his daughter. " They would not survive the winter," is his summation to the little girl the brute has saved from his cruel masters.

The little girl is a fierce Arya Stark,, who now appears to be more dangerous than Hound ever dreamed he could be.

John Kass is worried that this girl is now too far gone.

Nope.  Game of Thrones and the above mentioned dramas are at core theology lessons.  Theology draws us back to God, once we have re-hab-ed our way out of the delusion that we are god.  To quote Oprah, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” ― Oprah Winfrey

Worked for the delusional Walt Whitman as well.  Celebrate yourself!  Then what?

God gave us everything.  What do we do with health, finance, family, home, friendships, or integrity?  Do we cave in to "what the heart wants?"  Yep.  More often than not, we do.  Our faith, if we were ever rooted in one, might get us to snap out the need to celebrate ourselves - to be the very bestest me there is - and actually lend a hand to the work around us.

Some of us might become Whitey Bulger, or Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Some few of us might even become a Cardinal George, or a Gertrude Weil.

Most of us live in Flea Bottom, join the Lannister Army, or as Wildings. Some of us advance like the Onion Knight, Ser Davos Seaworth, the perfect model of working man, or the Bastard Jon Snow and find ouselves confronting our worst nightmares as well as pure human villainy.

The bad guys might win, the crumbs might have more in their checking account balances, but soldiering on and taking stock of lives and wondering if there is a right side to history, or whether God's plan includes your future comfort and good fortune are the very things that unite us. We are not 'special, entitled, or vital to life's path.'  We are here and that is good enough.

It took our culture decades to erase God.  It takes time to realize that fact and that God is not going anywhere.

Game of Thrones is not for children.  Game of Thrones is a theology test.

The Hound, Jamie Lannister, Arya Stark and even Little Finger can be redeemed.

Tomorrow, I shall talk about St. Callistus, a slave, an embezzler, a gang-leader, a cut-throat and back-slider who became Pope and a Martyr.

Go to church on Sunday and watch Game of Thrones.

Monday, August 07, 2017

More Than Kankakee County Fair, Lamancha Goats, Odd-Ball Bunnies and a Crab Cake BLT at the Longbranch in L'Erable, Illinois

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"The goal that I aimed at in breeding American La Manchas was a breed that was able to produce 3½ to six quarts of fine-flavored milk with 3.5% or more butterfat over a period of one to four years between freshenings. They should have the w-way wedge body, strong legs well-placed, udders well-attached, both front and back, good barrel, short sleek hair, any color or combination of colors, horned or hornless, and head the size of Toggenburgs." Mrs. Eula Fay Frey American Breeder 1958. 

Pretty fair day at the Kankakee County Fair. The lightest of rains and the happiest of Americans celebrating the talents and the industry of future farmers, homemakers and patriots.

I love County Fairs.  They are generally free of political nonsense and all of the manure is produced by Beef and Dairy Cattle, swine, rabbits, fowls, shoe horses and the patter of the Carnies.

Kankakee County Fair is one of the best there is and so after 8:30 Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Morgan Park, the elegant Miss Sullivan and I motored south on 57 to Illinois Route 17 west for a breakfast at the legendary Blue's Cafes, where the prettiest woman and the homeliest men dine on real food. Image result for blue's cafe kankakee il

Then a trip down Wall Street and east to Route 52 South and Fair Grounds.

I parked at the very heel of the east lot, knowing that by mid afternoon the grounds would be jammed with cars, SUVS, Hill Billy Cadillacs and Customized Classics.  A $ 20 fee admits one and all for a daily visit, but you can purchase a $ 25 full term admission and opening day was only a Buck ($1).

The Fair Grounds is operated by a Board of Volunteers and offers use of the 87 acre facility not only for the Annual Kankakee County Fair, but also for weddings, concerts and races.   The grounds and its mission to promote American agriculture are on target.

This jaded urbanite learned to love the life rustic, when I taught at Bishop McNamra High School from 1975-1988.  Kankakee is the center of Illinois French Heritage and all of the surrounding townships south through Iroquois County reflect that influence.  Towns like Beaverville, Papineau, Martinon, St. Anne, St. George and Bourbonnais are steeped in French Canadian culture, dating back to the 1840's, when Pastor Chiniquy, the Pastor Michael Pfleger of his times, lured thousands of French Canadians to Illinois. Charles Chiniquy is only American Catholic heretic and schismatic, so far.  Most of the people remained faithful to the Catholic Church and a few families formed the Chiniquy Presbyterians, until the Presbyterians kicked them out.

I married a girl of French ancestry - Mary Cleary. Her Mom's family were from St. George and spoke French in the home; they were Duvals and Fortins.

The French farmed the best soil in Illinois and the Kankakee County Fair reflects that.

Upon entry to he fair grounds, the sponsors ( Case, John Deere, Mahindra, Oliver and tractors, discs and rakes) greeted the crowd. We would watch these brands compete in the Tractor Pull.

Then on to the livestock sheds!

Now, I have been to over thirty County Fairs, five Kentucky Derbies and eight hog call contests, but I have never seen anything like this weird looking son of a bitch. This blue ribbon winner from 7th grader Ms. Buente of Bonfield 4-H takes the prize with me too.

Not to be out done for strange the Lamancha goat was the next eye-brow raising exhibit.  Miss Sullivan lingered among the feathered contestants cockadoodle-doing up a cacophony only matched by Lalapalooza.  "They're birds for Crissakes."  Nasty, smelly foul tempered birds.  I hung with the swine.
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Then lured Miss Sullivan to the goat pens and Lamancha goats. I learned about the Lamnacha goats from the Grand Prize Winner ( who asked to be nameless here) from Chebanse, "These are dairy goats and have been bred so.  Spanish goats from LaMancha produced great, high fat milk and they had remarkably short ears - gopher ers. But this is an American breed going back to 1958.  The ideal is to breed the shortest to non-existent ears."

I had always assumed that the ears had been cropped - I learned something yesterday.

The Sheep, the beef cattle and visiting African Leopard all took a backseat to the looming Tractor Pull.  The leopard was part of a Wild Animal menagerie for the little guys, but I loved watching the big cat nail chicken thighs.
That gal could eat!

Now, the tractor pull - To the uninitiated this sport appears rather odd.  To the initiated it is, but really fun, noisy and captivating. Here are the basics: "All tractors in their respective classes pull a set weight in the sled. When a tractor gets to the end of the 100 metre track, this is known as a "full pull". When more than one tractor completes the course, more weight is added to the sled, and those competitors that moved past 300 feet will compete in a pull-off; the winner is the one who can pull the sled the farthest."

Here is last year's event!    

This is yesterday's pull

This John Deere entry failed badly - barely hitting 200 feet.   I sent to purchase "the smallest scoop of strawberry ice cream in a Belgian waffle cone and a very small cup of water."  Dutifully, I succeeded in the former and failed miserably at the later.  The girls from Georgetown, Illinois looked at me like I had never eaten a funnel cake, when I asked for the water.  As if!!!!

It was time to stretch our legs and enjoy the wonders of the midway. Being a veteran Dad, I delighted in not going to any of the many ATM machines strategically positioned all along the midway rides and gaming booths.Image result for Kankakee County Fair

Having spent the equivalent of a year's tuition at St. Ignatius College Prep, over the years of fatherhooding three wonderful children on carnival rides, duck ponds and darts, I declined the offers to give it a try and watched scores of Happy Pappies dig out the debit cards.

Our day was done at the Fair!  Now, it was time to dine À la manière de nos ancêtres français.  We were off to L'Erable and the fabled Longbranch Saloon.

L'Erable, Illinois is south of Kankakee in Iroquois County east of Clifton at the County Road junctions of 2400 S and 1500 E. Ashkum Township and is identified by St. John The Baptist Catholic Church and the Longbranch.
  It is in unincorporated

The Longbranch has always been a great place for food and drink, but 3rd Generation owners: Nick & Lindsay Bohn have brought more pizazz to the menu with Cajun Shrimp & Andouille Pasta, Steak Parmesan and Prime Rib done to perfection.

The bar is welcoming and if you don't care for IPA you ordered on friend's recommendation, a chilled bottle of whatever else you like is uncapped and poured in a cold glass with so much as a raised eyebrow.

I had the CrabCake BLT - Image result for longbranchlerable. Crabcake BLT Miss Sullivan Longbranch Burger Image result for longbranch lerable burgerWe took restorative stroll to the Church and its War Memorial before heading north to Chicago.

Miss Sullivan dozed contentedly as I rode the speed limit through the soybeans and tall corn to 111th Street.  I dozed not all but delighted in a more than fair day.