Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Soul’s Own Speech

For as long as I can remember, my Mum has had a small crossstitched saying hanging in her home which reads as follows.

For heights and depths no words can reach, music is the soul’s own speech.

Here’s proof (6:31 video), in the form of an old man in a nursing home drawn out from within himself via music.

Via J. Orlin Grabbe.

UPDATE - 06.05.2012:  Spent some time with my Mum, this afternoon, and shared with her, amongest other things, this story, and it appears that the power of music, as displayed in the video previously linked, is not something new.  Mum shared with me two stories.  First, a story regarding a friend of my parents who had suffered a stroke in his early fifties (this was 30 years or so ago), leaving him bereft of speech other than guttural sounds.  When my parents visited the gentleman and his wife, shortly after his return to his home, the gentleman kept grunting and motioning to the small organ in their home, so my Mum sat down at the organ and began to play.  She launched into a hymn, and lo and behold the gentleman raised his voice in song, for hymn after hymn my Mum wailed out on the organ.

The second story revolves around my Mum also, who still plays the organ and piano, she’s 81 now, and does so for hymn sings in one of the local nursing homes.  She informs me that a number of individuals within the nursing home, who also suffer from loss of speech, or interest in interaction with other individuals for one reason or another, whom, when they attend these hymn sings, will lustily join in singing along.  That’s pretty dang cool!

Posted by John Venlet on 05/31 at 01:14 PM
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Good Samaritan - Should I Stay or Should I Go, Now

Drudge links to a CBS News story on the Miami beach face eater which is headlined Video shows bikes riding past face-mauling attack, though Drudge’s headline is rather more National Enquirer colorful and exclamation point emphasized.  “VIDEO SHOWS BIKES RIDING PAST SOUTH BEACH CANNIBAL ATTACK!”

Each headline, I would wager, was crafted to raise the ire of and chastise readers; How callous of those bike riders!,  People just don’t care nowadays!,  What is this world coming to when people won’t stop and help?!; you get the idea.

If we consider this headline, though, in the kleig lights of law enforcement pronouncements over the years regarding how one should react if accosted by men intent on committing some type of evil; Run, cooperate, call 911; is it any wonder, at all, that good samaritan acts are the exception rather than the norm, and that the chorus from The Clash’s song Should I Stay or Should I Go come to mind.

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An’ if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know!

Posted by John Venlet on 05/31 at 08:47 AM
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“The Character of a Happy Life”

How happy is he born and taught,
That serveth not another’s will;
Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his utmost skill;

Whose passions not his masters are;
Whose soul is still prepared for death,
Untied unto the world by care
Of public fame or private breath;

Who envies none that chance doth raise,
Nor vice; who never understood
How deepest wounds are given by praise;
Nor rules of state, but rules of good;

Who hath his life from rumours freed;
Whose conscience is his strong retreat;
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruin make oppressors great;

Who God doth late and early pray
More of His grace than gifts to lend;
And entertains the harmless day
With a religious book, or friend.

This man is freed from servile bands
Of hope to rise or fear to fall;
Lord of himself, though not of lands,
And, having nothing, yet hath all.

Sir Henry Wotton

Posted by John Venlet on 05/31 at 07:33 AM
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

New Heroes Needed Now

The Sophos, or Wise Man, as the new type of hero was first called, was a person of intellect above his fellows, who applied his mind freely to the facts of the world around him, not without the guidance of others, but without subservience to tradition or authority, and anxious to use his knowledge for the common good.

F. S. Marvin, The Living Past - A Sketch of Western Progress, Fifth Edition, Oxford At The Clarendon Press, 1931, Chapter 4, The Greeks, pg. 57-58

Posted by John Venlet on 05/30 at 03:44 PM
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Hand Me That Safe Operating Envelope (SOE), Would Ya

Wired’s Danger Room has some halfway decent pictures of the U.S. Navy’s newest attack submarine, of the Virginia class, the USS Mississippi, along with an article, written by Spencer Ackerman, who tagged along for a ride on the Mississippi as it transited down to Pascagoula for commissioning.

Ackerman’s article, as with most articles dealing with government systems or weapons platforms, is just detailed enough to be interesting, and just vague enough to not spill any supposed secrets in regards to the Mississippi.

I did note one rather glaring inaccuracy in Ackerman’s piece, as follows.

The faster the captain wants to go, the deeper he dives.

While that statement does have some truth to it, it is not accurate.  Submarines must operate, when submerged, in what is known as the safe operating envelope (SOE).  The SOE for a submarine is calculated based on speed, depth, and it’s ability to recover from a control plane casualty.  If the Mississippi, or any submarine, attempted to run at Full or Flank speed at depths outside the established SOE, and suffered a control plane casualty, well, those onboard, as we used to say when I was on the USS Los Angeles (SSN688), may as well bend over and kiss their asses goodbye.

Exclusive Pictures: Inside the Navy’s Newest Spy Sub

Additional photos here.

Linked via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/30 at 11:22 AM
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A Common Wood Burning Intransigence

Sam Harris evidently must be having problems rallying folks to his atheist banner, and because of this is reaching out to non-believing environmental greenies, possibly to augment the atheist ranks.  Harris’ outreach program attempts to compare, via shaming, the more secular amongest us to religious folks’ alleged delusional belief in God by vilifying burning wood in fireplaces and campfires.

It seems to me that many nonbelievers have forgotten—or never knew—what it is like to suffer an unhappy collision with scientific rationality. We are open to good evidence and sound argument as a matter of principle, and are generally willing to follow wherever they may lead. Certain of us have made careers out of bemoaning the failure of religious people to adopt this same attitude.

However, I recently stumbled upon an example of secular intransigence that may give readers a sense of how religious people feel when their beliefs are criticized. It’s not a perfect analogy, as you will see, but the rigorous research I’ve conducted at dinner parties suggests that it is worth thinking about. We can call the phenomenon “the fireplace delusion.”

That’s some novel dinner party “rigorous research,” Sam.

In actuality, what Harris seems to desire, is an outlawing of burning wood, utilizing, naturally, the force of the state.  Good luck with that delusion, Sam, and enjoy the picture of my very believing Mum at the campfire.


The Fireplace Delusion.

Linked via Billy Beck.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/30 at 09:07 AM
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Readings

Memorial Day was once known as Decoration Day, and its more formal origins have been traced back to May of 1865.  Here’s a few readings with an eye on this day.

Gerard Vanderleun’s Small Flags.

At Donald Sensing’s place, For the fallen.

Going further back in time, commerating an action of September 8, 1781, a poem by Philip Freneau, titled To the Memory of the Brave Americans, in its entirety.

Under General Greene, in South Carolina,
who fell in the action of September 8, 1781

AT Eutaw Springs the valiant died;
Their limbs with dust are covered o’er—
Weep on, ye springs, your tearful tide;
How many heroes are no more!

If in this wreck or ruin, they
Can yet be thought to claim a tear,
O smite your gentle breast, and say
The friends of freedom slumber here!

Thou, who shalt trace this bloody plain,
If goodness rules thy generous breast,
Sigh for the wasted rural reign;
Sign for the shepherds, sunk to rest!

Stranger, their humble graves adorn;
You too may fall, and ask a tear;
‘Tis not the beauty of the morn
That proves the evening shall be clear.—

They saw their injured country’s woe;
The flaming town, the wasted field;
Then rushed to meet the insulting foe;
They took the spear—but left the shield.

Led by thy conquering genius, Greene,
The Britons they compelled to fly;
None distant viewed the fatal plain,
None grieved, in such a cause to die—

But, like the Parthian, famed of old,
Who, flying, still their arrows threw,
These routed Britons, full as bold,
Retreated, and retreating slew.

Now rest in peace, our patriot band,
Though far from nature’s limits thrown,
We trust they find a happier land,
A brighter sunshine of their own.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/27 at 08:37 AM
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Saturday, May 26, 2012

“Low-Tech Solutions To High-Tech Tyranny”

Via Claire Wolfe, a link to an piece written by Brandon Smith titled Low-Tech Solutions To High-Tech Tyranny, with inexpensive workarounds to CCTV surveillance, RFID chips, night vision/thermal imaging/predator drones, amongest other liberty intruding and eroding devices, with links.  Good to know information.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/26 at 02:00 PM
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Richard Dawkins Channels Jacques Ellul

While I was out wading streams and communing with trout, Richard Dawkins, whom I have mentioned in these pages in the past, had a piece in the Guardian under a headline some atheists may consider surprising.  Why I want all our children to read the King James Bible.

The reason Dawkins states for wanting children to read the King James Bible is articulated as follows.

The good book should be read as a great work of literature…

Dawkins’ stated reason is correct, and he also offers more substantive reasons for reading the King James Bible, such as the historical facts contained therein.

But what I am most interested in addressing in Dawkins’ piece is the following comment.

Whatever else the Bible might be – and it really is a great work of literature – it is not a moral book and young people need to learn that important fact because they are very frequently told the opposite.

I am uncertain if Dawkins has just arrived at this supposed enlightening conclusion, but if he has, it does not speak well in regards to his alleged intellect, as his concluding thought, that the Bible is not a moral book, is simply a paraphrased regurgitation of an insight of French philosopher Jacques Ellul’s.

Similarly, what Jesus says in the Gospels is not morality…Second, there is no moral system in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.  There are no moral precepts that can exist independently in some way, that can have universal validity, and that can serve the elaboration of a moral system.  Third, the revelation of God in Jesus Christ is against morality.  Not only is it honestly impossible to derive a moral system from the Gospels and the Epistles, but further, the main keys in the gospel—the proclamation of grace, the declaration of pardon, and the opening up of life to freedom—are the direct opposite of morality.  For they imply that all conduct, including that of the devout, or the most moral, is wholly engulfed in sin.

Source (see page 70).

Link to Dawkins’ piece via Keith Burgess-Jackson.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/25 at 09:19 AM
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“Freedom is Dangerous”

Freedom is dangerous. It often demands courage, blood, glory, heroism, sacrifice, death.

Freedom is dangerous. Freedom is the highest human value.

Freedom is dangerous. Freedom is necessary for human development, human dignity, and fully realized human beings.

Freedom is dangerous. It requires the ultimate choice:  Freedom or Death.

Freedom is dangerous. Freedom is Life.

From The Gunslinger’s post Meditation of Freedom.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/25 at 09:01 AM
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Competing Christianity Discoveries Juxtaposition

From Iran.  Iran: Discovery will collapse Christianity

From Israel.  Archaeologists uncover proof that Bethlehem existed centuries pre-Jesus

Does either claim matter?

Posted by John Venlet on 05/25 at 07:55 AM
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Forgotten Man

In the midst of these large and great matters all too often the individual becomes the forgotten man.  Then he emerges in solemn significance and we see that at last everything else depends upon him.  The passion for goodness on the part of the individual is the only true basis for social hopes.  All our values come to frustration when the canker of falseness rots the individual life.  The individual alive with the passion for goodness is all the while making feasible new hopes for the lot of man.  The treachery in the heart of the individual is the ultimate foe.  The triumph of good in the individual life is the central victory which makes all other victories possible.  Here we see in full flower the ultimate human value.

Lynn Harold Hough, The Civilized Mind - Forest Essays - Second Series, The Abingdon Press, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago, 1937, pg., 238

Posted by John Venlet on 05/23 at 02:16 PM
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Certain Mayfly

A certain mayfly is hatching on my creek, once again, but this time a little bird did not inform me of this.  When I was north, Thursday and Friday, I noted them beginning to trickle off the creek, and with the heat we’ve been experiencing the past two days here in Michigan, well, they will now be in full swing, so north I go again for a few days to pursue brookies and browns.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/20 at 11:22 AM
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Join the Club or Get Clubbed

Kerodin, who runs the blog III Percent Patriots, has a post up titled What do you want?, wherein he discusses his allegiance to the Constitution and desire for restoration of the tenets of the Constitution.

This is all well and good, and I appreciate Kerodin articulating his stance as a “Constitutionalist,” but here Kerodin expresses what I can only interpret as a willingness to employ the monopoly of force currently possessed by the state, or, a desire to maintain the current status quo, but allegedly a more pure version of the current status quo.

For you folks who don’t know what you want, or do not want Restoration, we do not have enough in common to warrant my ever allowing you on my flank. One day, when it is down to Constitutionalists and non-Constitutionalists, you’ll decide that there can be only one.

I think Kerodin’s stance and view is problematically rigid, join the Constitutionalists’ club or get clubbed, and it reminds me of a Chuck Baldwin column, Identifying Our Friends, which is oppositional to Kerodin in that Baldwin, finally, comes to the realization of inclusiveness, rather than exclusiveness, in the quest for liberty.

In comments to Kerodin’s post, MamaLiberty gets to the root of why Kerodin’s allegiance to the Constitution is not necessarily the workable solution.

I’m an individual sovereign and my law is the law of non-aggression. The “constitution” sets up a society where some men own others. I want no part of it.

A republic democracy is the insane idea that people are too stupid and evil to control their own lives and property completely, but are wise and good enough to choose others to do it for them… selected from the “right people,” of course.

Link to Kerodin’s post via Bill St. Clair, who also comments on Kerodin’s thoughts.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/20 at 08:54 AM
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sacralization of the State via The Constitution

There was a time, when the state was not a sacred entity.  In fact, individuals knew that the state was not their friend, but in fact their enemy, and far from sacred.

This time has passed, and the state is now a sacred entity, rather than the individual, or in the collective, humanity, being sacred.

In these United States of America, the new god is the state, and the state’s sacralizing document is The Constitution of the United States.

Bill Buppert has addressed this subject, and make no mistake it is a contentious subject, in a straightforward and clear manner, and in far more indepth manner than I have in the past myself.

Bill’s thoughts on the Constitution are titled The Constitution: The God That Failed (To Liberate Us From Big Government) and bear your consideration.  At a minimum, take a look at Buppert’s chart comparing the Constitution versus the Articles of Confederation, which were the original organizing concept for liberty in America.

Linked via Western Rifle Shooters Association.

Posted by John Venlet on 05/16 at 02:51 PM
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