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Run Padre Run: Peace after the Storm

Today was a day of recuperation from a long couple of weeks of which yesterday was hard after being victimized by a larceny at work. Today despite carrying the duty pager, has been as close to a day off as I have had in a couple of weeks.

After watching the ball game last night knowing that I was carrying the duty pager today I decided to sleep as late as my body and my dog Molly would let me. Not that she was in the mood to get out either since we were being pounded by tropical storm force winds and heavy rain. She is not a fan of rain.

Since I didn’t have any pages from work I got up about noon, yes noon, I needed it as evidently Molly did too. So have I took her on a walk I decided to take a tip to see how our town had weathered the storm. It was not bad and I took Molly to the beach to check things out. Since things didn’t look bad and the weather reports showed the rain ending I decided to go for a run about 3PM after I had celebrated Eucharist. It turned into a Forrest Gump run.

Initially I planned on doing about 4-5 miles. When I got to the beach I decided to take a right and head southwest toward the end of the island which is called “the Point.” At the 2 mile point I felt good so I kept going and had to turn into the wind which was blowing at about 30-40 MPH from the north for about a mile. I had forgotten what it was like to run into a wind like that, at times I felt like I was standing still. Things got better when I turned around and rediscovered the advantages of a strong tailwind. Out at the point sand was racing along the beach faster than me blown by the stiff wind and I was glad that I had long running pants on rather than shorts.

Very few people were out today although a few hearty souls were out looking for shells or in some cases had metal detectors out. I got up to the beach entrance where I live and still felt good and wanted to do more even though I knew that if I went straight home it would be a nice 6 mile run. However I could see the Bogue Banks Fishing Pier in the distance. I had always wanted to do the whole beach and since I still felt good I kept running. Last week I had ran the furthest I had in a long time when I did 7.1 miles, out to the Point and then up the beach a bit. I figured that I could do 7 miles and then it was 8 and I went under the pier and kept going about another quarter mile. I thought of going further but since conditions were beginning to deteriorate I decided to turn back. I ran into some more wind on the way back but I finished the run. I wasn’t fast, the combination of wind and occasionally soft sand slowed me down but it was nice, a bit under 2 hours for the 11.2 miles, about 5.6 miles an hour. The was really slow from about the 8th mile I figure I was doing about 6.5 miles an hour before I hit the pier.

Regardless it was a good feeling to finish and know that I am in about good enough shape that I could do a half-marathon again. At 52 years old I don’t need to be fast, but just to know that I can do it gives me a lot of satisfaction.

Tomorrow it will be back to my weekday circuit training when I do lots of push-ups of various types, crunches and abdominal exercises between laps of 1/3 of a mile for an hour or so. It will still be windy and it looks like that the nights are going to be the coldest that we have had since last winter. But at least we are not in the direct path of Sandy. I have been through a good number of hurricanes and tropical storms, all in the summer when the temperatures were warm, I would not want to take one like Sandy especially with a winter storm bearing in as well. Somehow flooding, cold weather and snow combined with power outages does not seem fun.

Today was interesting because usually some song from the 1970s will be going through my head as I run. Last week it was Bob Seeger’s Against the Wind  the day before it was Linda Ronstadt’s You’re no Good, today it was Rod Stewart’s Do you think I’m Sexy. Sometimes it is Abba, Blondie or Doctor Hook. It is not like I plan on my internal I-Pod to play these songs, but it is what it is.

Now it is time to settle in and see what happens in the World Series. I am hoping for the sweep but if the Giants do win I wonder how many South Park seasons I can watch between now and the election.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Return to the Great Montana Dude Ranch Sleepover: Padre Steve’s Cure to Politics as Usual

I wrote this about a year ago and after the fiasco that we have endured during this long and all too painful year think that it is time to revisit the topic. Since I have been rather morose of late I figure that this should break things up a bit.

I don’t know about you but as a passionate moderate I am fed up with the nasty politics as usual that is killing our country.  Our political ruling class appears to be hell bent on destroying the country all to satisfy their respective need for power and to satisfy the basest wants of their most strident supporters. The corruption and malevolence of the career politicians on both sides of the aisle have bankrupted the country, cost American lives in war, cost American jobs, destroyed our manufacturing base, placed the interests of financial traders who produce nothing except promote the evil practice of usury because it makes them money which they in turn contribute copious amounts of said money to their political patrons.  Then to top it all off they pass laws that make no sense and that you have to have an army of lawyers to understand.  They are out of touch with the everyday concerns of real Americans and have done their best to destroy the fabric of our society in their quest for power and they are many times an unseemly lot who do things that regular people could never get away with. The number of ethics violations, criminal charges and convictions and resignations due to shady financial dealings, backroom deals, sexual scandals and sometimes rather nasty criminal cases are too numerous to catalogue unless you are Matt Drudge.  I won’t list them here but they include notable Democrats as well as Republicans, nor will I go into all the idiotic things that our government, both Democrat and Republican controlled administrations or congresses have done as the task would be ginormous. Since we all get spun up about different issues usually in tune with our own political or social viewpoints I leave it to you my readers to fill in the blanks and comment on what you think they are screwing up.

Part of the problem is that our political ruling class, the Federal Government particular is completely out of touch because they live in the netherworld ofWashingtonD.C.  This city has become the symbol of all that ails the country and since our political class only leaves it to raise money for their next campaigns they have no earthly clue of what the rest of us are experiencing.  Thus they can coddle up to their big financial supporters and most demented party extremists and unseemly lobbyists representing some of the vilest elements of our society.  As a result for at least the past 10 years and I am sure a lot more they have for the most part forgotten the people that they are supposed to represent. The political class doesn’t live in our world, thus they do everything that they can not to look at what is best for the country but rather what is best for them, for their party, their supporters and their agendas.  If you ask me its all out of whack and they really all should be whacked.

Since they all spend far too much time inWashingtonor raising money to stay there it is high time that they get out of Dodge so to speak.  This is my idea of how we fix this situation.  My suggestion is definitely not politics as usual.  Instead it is based on relationships built from shared suffering and since we are suffering why shouldn’t they suffer too? So here’s my idea. First we shut down the government for a month. Now before you think that you won’t get what the government owes you I don’t mean the people that actually do the work.   What I mean is both houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court.   We shut them down.  Let the clerks of the court do their thing, let the White House staff do its job and congressional aides deal with constituents.  Give the Russians and Chinese, the Iranians, Al Qaida, the European Union and everyone else a message that we’re busy the next month so don’t bother us.  We’ll tell them that if they mind their own business that our stand ins with itchy fingers won’t nuke them. where is Al Haig when you need him the most?  Hey MAD (mutual assured destruction)  worked during the Cold War, after all nothing like an ICBM loaded with multiple nuclear warheads to keep people in line and not do anything really stupid.

So do you hear me Mahmoud and Osama? Do you hear me?  All that would come between you and nuclear annihilation are a few disgruntled civil servants with road rage that just got to work after being stuck in Beltway traffic for 3 hours. Go ahead make our day.

Once we shut the place down we put all of these guys and gals on Greyhound buses packed to the gills.  Each bus would have a mix of members of each party really making sure those that hate each other most sit next to each other.  Secret Service and FBI agents on the buses would have the option to Taser anyone that tries to switch seats.  Then we drive them all to some big assed dude ranch inMontana, outfit them in silly looking cowboy clothes with boots that are a bit too tight and leave them there in the charge of a bunch of cowboys at least two of which have had a recent “BrokebackMountain” experience.

They would have no cell phones, computers or communications with the outside world or even their minions back in D.C., nope, just them and Mother Nature sharing the experience of high plains living.  In fact to liven the place up we need to bring a few folks back into the mix, some former Presidents and Speakers of the House would do fine. Also the addition of the most strident Cable TV and radio talking heads and commentators would be good too, but I digress, too many extras might spoil the moment.  Maybe we should have a separate sleepover of Rush Limbaugh and Maureen Dowd or Sean Hannity and Keith Olberman later?  No, we’ll throw them into this one to make it more fun.

This dude ranch living would be a bit Spartan. Since most of these folks a Spartan way is driving in a luxury car or SUV, having to fly First Class, staying in a luxury suite or eating at a 4 star restaurant they might have a hard time with what I propose but that would just be tough.    They made this mess and by God we’re going to get them back in touch with the real world and in the process get them to build real relationships with each other instead of the artificial life that they have led inside the beltway for years.

Once we get them to the big assed Dude Ranch we pair them up the best we can with a liberal and a conservative in each cabin.  We would try to keep the cabins of the same gender not to cause too much scandal but would make a few exceptions to that rule.  Now by cabins I don’t mean those really nice cabins that people take real vacations at, no I mean really rustic, Spartan tiny cabins with no amenities and only one bed, a full sized bed that our new roommates would need to share. The cabins would have no couches, easy chairs or love seats, no sleeping bags not even a bearskin rug, nope nothing else but the bed.  They would have a rather rustic communal outhouse to share with everyone else over a deep pit latrine and share their meals in a rather dilapidated chow hall eating off of tin plates and drinking from tin cups.  There would be a camp saloon but it would be like those of the old west, nothing but rotgut whisky, no mixed drinks, no foo-foo appetizers, no micro-brew beer. They would sleep together, eat together and have to participate in trail rides, fly fishing, Grizzly Bear hunting, rodeo events such as bull riding and calf roping as couples, odd couples, but couples nonetheless.  This togetherness would be enforced. Those Secret Service and FBI agents with their tasers… they’ll be out there too.  Anyway when our leaders go on the overnight trail rides the fun really starts.  After they eat their beans from tin plates, sing really bad western songs and take a swig or two or more of rotgut whiskey and then relieve themselves in the manner that the cowboys did in the old West they would get to curl up together in their own two person pup tent, a really small one and spoon.  This would help break down the walls that separate them and force them to get to know each other, some possibly in the Biblical sense of the word, but in the spirit of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell I won’t go there.

There is something about shared suffering to bring people together and make them realize that there is more to life than their own narcissistic agendas and power trips.  No this wouldn’t be prison for them as much as a lot of Americans think that prison would be fitting for them; prison is far too easy for our political class. Instead this would build character, character that if once they had they lost over their years inside the Beltway.

Of course they would not get to pick their room-mates so here are some of my suggestions:

President Obama and Rush Limbaugh: I know I said that the media should have their own version of this but since Limbaugh is the leader of the conservative movement he has to come and buck with his pal Barry.

Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch: They’re both Mormons so they can at least pray together.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Rachel Maddow: I don’t know it just sounds right.

Nancy Pelosi and Antonin Scalia: Sure it’s an opposite sex pairing but they are both Italians they should have fun.

Tom Tancredo and Janet Napolitano: Let’s make a run for the border and mend some fences together

Russ Feingold and Ron Paul: Government control and Libertarianism two great tastes that go great together

John Ensign and Barbara Boxer: He can’t seem to hold it in and she looks like that she could use some loving

Al Franken and Clarence Thomas: A comedian and a straight man…what a combination

John Kerry and John McCain: Both Vietnam Veterans, they understand the value of camaraderie

Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer: The just look like they need to be together

Diane Feinstein and Michael Savage: ASan Francisco treat

Barbara Milkulski and Kay Bailey-Hutchinson: Why not?

Joe Lieberman and Tim Pawlwnty: Not opposites but they seem to go together

Samuel Alito and Maureen Dowd: It just sounds right

Eric Holder and Glenn Beck: I sense real chemistry here

Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich: He’s running and she’s not but why not?

Barney Frank and Sean Hannity: They debate on his show often enough let them really get to know each other

Sarah Palin and Joe Biden: Not a recognizable cognitive thought between them all hormones and testosterone

Sheila Jackson-Lee and Ann Coulter: Salt and Pepper

Ruth Bader-Ginsberg and Pat Buchannan: It can’t get any better than this

John Boehner and Joe Biden: I think that they could really come to love each other

Plus some new additions

Allen West and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: Bringing Florida together

Michelle Bachmann and Ed Schultz: That Heartland feeling

Herman Cain and Kieth Ellison:  Building bridges of faith

Rick Santorum and Lawrence O’Donnell: It can’t get any better

Unfortunately some of our more interesting members of our political class have passed on I would have loved to throw Teddy Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan and any number of others into the mix, but what can I say?

So after 30 days our political elites would board their buses and go back to their home districts or home towns.  Then they would have some real town meetings as couples, holding hands, looking dreamily into each other’s eyes and bringing peace to the political landscape.   With those pesky Secret Service and FBI agents and their tasers at the ready our leaders would have to listen to their constituents and not the lobbyists. Speaking of lobbyists they all get sent toNew Guinea.   As for the Congressmen and Senators they and their new found friends would have to spend 8 months a year living in their home state or district. The would give up their palatial estates in favor of homes that are in the median real estate price for their area. They would send their kids to public schools, go to PTA meetings, coach little league or soccer, deal with local government officials as the rest of us are forced to do.  They would have to do their own grocery shopping, fight lines at  Wal-Mart, take out their own garbage and spend time sitting in traffic behind the wheel of their average car or SUV. They would fly coach or business class and go through the TSA checkpoints like the rest of us, maybe even getting the full body scan once in a while. They would sit in the drive through line at Wendy’s, make a run for the border, Taco Bell that is and shop for the lowest priced gasoline.   The four months that they spend inWashingtonDCwill be devoted to actually fixing things that they have fouled up over the years.  They would have to pass non-pork laden budgets passed, reduce the deficit and do everything that they can to bring industry back into this country, rebuild the manufacturing base, protecting the environment as they rebuildour nation’s infrastructure and eliminate the barriers that keep small businesses and entrepreneurs from developing solutions to the challenges that face the country.  Likewise they would need to repeal all of the draconian laws that intrude on the everyday life of ordinary Americans. I want the Federal government out of our churches, out of our local public schools, out of our bedrooms and out of everything that they don’t belong in. Freedom baby, I love it.

Finally just to make sure that our now properly schooled public servants don’t forget the lessons of the Great Montana Dude Ranch Sleepover they would for two weeks each year have to do this again. Maybe it could be a trail ride inTexasandOklahoma, a swamp safari inLouisianacomplete with no mosquito repellent. Perhaps a winter camp out at the Donner Pass, a gang- reenactment camp in East L.A. or an Appalachian family get together, still building and moonshine making contest in some holler in West Virginia or Eastern Kentucky. The possibilities in our great country are endless after all learning should be a lifetime event.

Of course my pairings of political bedfellows may not work for you, maybe you have better ones.  If so feel free to add them as a comment and on this one no pairing will be denied because it’s all about togetherness.  Because as I see it everything comes down to relationships and if we can just get these folks out of Washington to share some hardship, to eat together, ride together and even spoon together after all who can’t say that they don’t feel closer to someone after spooning together?

Now before you think that I am advocating that they all have higgily-piggily sex together I am not.  However if it does happen and they get right with each other and start to work together for us what can be wrong with it? Half have probably had nasty sex with people that aren’t their spouses anyway so what difference does it make? It would be a sacrifice that they make for us, their fellow Americans.  I know that I don’t want to sleep with any of them and figure that you don’t either and I really don’t want to know what happens when they spoon.  Don’t ask don’t tell baby, don’t ask don’t tell.  Besides would you want to know what happens when Sean Hannity and Barney Frank spoon? I don’t. I’ll say it again, don’t ask, don’t tell that’s my rule for life.

If this works maybe just maybe that they will finally start looking to the issues that Americans care about. Maybe they will finally understand the desire that we all have to see our children grow up to have the opportunity to outdo us, that our children might have a better future and that the country that we live in would come together like we did in the Second World War to overcome all the obstacles that stand between us and a better future. Call me a genius or call me crazy, chalk it up to Mad Cow, after all I can’t give blood because I lived inEuropeand ate too much beef. But remember “Padre Steve” is a “Uniter” not a divider, a decider not a ditherer and a real American for real Americans.

Padre Steve: a passionate moderate with radical ideas.  Sleepover anyone?

Peace and laughs

Padre Steve+

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The Unassuming Miscreant: How Padre Steve got his Driver’s License

Who would think that the Young man in the Aviator Sunglasses could be so devious? 

Note to Parents: While this article talks about my own misdeeds it is not an endorsement or blessing of your kid doing such things unless they do it with more style and flair than me.  In which case I need to meet them, as I do appreciate genius and want to make sure that they have the opportunity to school them in the ways of the “Farce.”This is just the first installment of my high school follies so look for more in the future.

I was a quiet and unassuming high school delinquent back in the 1970s and I love the classic 80’s comedy Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.  When I watch it I always reminisce about the good and not so good times that I enjoyed and did not enjoy in high school.  When I watch the movie I am reminded of so of my own sneaky misdeeds which included weaseling my way through or out of classes, escaping school to get my driver’s license by playing dead and cutting Geometry class so often by hiding in the library that the library staff thought it was my assigned class.

You see no one suspected me of such behavior because of my shy nice guy persona. Now to be fair I was pretty introverted most of the time. To top it off I was a NJROTC cadet in the years following Vietnam which was not the place one hung out if one was in the real “in crowd.” I sacrificed my love of baseball to appear cool by playing on the Sophomore Football team, albeit not very well. I was active in church and I was a pretty nice guy.  I look in some of my yearbooks and see the comments inscribed by friends and they all pretty much reflect the image that I put out. Thus while I was a complete goof off or no show in some classes I was a show off in other classes that I was good at which gave people the illusion that I was a really good student.  I was in those classes but image is everything and my High School GPA was just a bit above 3.0.

Now most people never suspected me of anything devious except my little brother Jeff who had me nailed though he was still in elementary school.  Little brothers and sisters have that ability.

I found that by masquerading as a serious student was far better cover to get away with things than being an in your face rebel like some of my other classmates were.  The fact that I carried a large stack of books with me everywhere I went added the image.  It did make my arms tired but when you have little else to use you take advantage of what you have.  I looked the part of the serious student thus that was what most people assumed that I was.

All of us at Edison High School had a common core of classes to prepare us for life. One of them was a class in health which also included some of the academic preparations for drivers training.  I was in a class with a bunch of folks that I have had contact with even today which was taught by Mrs. Davenport.   During the class we got to see two of the best “scare the shit out of you” films of all time.  They were Wheels of Tragedy produced in 1963 by the Ohio State Patrol and Red Asphalt produced in the early 1970s by the California Highway Patrol. Wheels of Tragedy can be seen in its entirety by following this link: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6728780942571899981# while Red Asphalt can be seen here:http://www.documentingreality.com/forum/f166/red-asphalt-18740/

These are some of the creepiest films ever made and I’m sure that the girls were really grossed out by them.  When Mrs. Davenport left the room a couple of us played these films backwards on the 16mm projector, which led to images of dead people’s heads reappearing on their shoulders.  If these films were shown in theaters today they would get an “R” rating for violence due to the close up depictions of dead bodies.  I don’t know if they are still shown as they are somewhat dated, but they are pretty cool in kind of a retro-creepy way.

Once we got through that class which took place in the fall we started the actual driver’s education portion in the spring. The idea was that when we turned 16 we would be able to take and pass written and the road test administered at the Department of Motor Vehicles, better known as the DMV.  This class was taught by Mr. Allerdice, a stocky retired Marine with a close cropped hair and a growling who seemed out of place in the school but who was a great teacher.   He was like having a drill sergeant, albeit a nice drill sergeant but a drill sergeant nonetheless.  The Driver’s Education classes were limited to 3 students and included classroom instruction, a bunch of time behind the wheels of a simulator followed by supervised driving.   Our class had an orange Chevy Nova which had two sets of controls, one for the student and the “My God we’re about to die!” controls on the right side of the car at which Mr. Allerdice sat.   This was somewhat intimidating but still kind of fun, especially because we knew that if we were successful we got our learners permit and were pretty much golden for the DMV.  I had no problems with the class, really sailed through it and got ready for the real deal training on my parents 1972 Chevy Impala which was about the size of a small armored vehicle.

When the day came for my driver’s test I had to find a way out of school when my mom could take me to the DMV.  This came shortly after my 16th birthday at the end of March 1976.  That morning I told my mom to be ready to meet me about 10 AM because I needed her to take me to the DMV. She assumed like everyone else that I had permission to do the things that I said that I needed to do.  However I was flying by the seat of my pants and was about to embark on a gamble that if discovered would get me in trouble with the school and even worse at home. I was going to fake being deathly ill.

In my second period I told the teacher, whoever it was as I cannot remember what class I was taking that I was feeling sick. I told the teacher that I felt feverish and that I might throw up.  Since I had finished gym class the period before I was still somewhat sweaty which provided the cover for the fever, a sweaty and flushed face is great cover and prerequisite when feigning illness.  The teacher wrote me a pass to the school nurse.  I trudged down the hallway like I had the plague until I got to the nurses’ office which was in the main lateral hallway of the school where many of us had our lockers.  The corridor was empty except for staff policing the hallways for the miscreants hoping to cut class or escape for the day. They saw me but saw my pass to the nurse and assumed that I was deathly ill.

The nurse was a middle aged and a bit heavy set African American woman who was known for being wise to students feigning illness.  She was no dummy, had been a school nurse forever and didn’t take any shit but she was a most genial person.  I entered the office doing my best to look like I had the plague or other life threatening malady and prayed that I could pull off my escape with the unwitting permission of the Stockton Unified School Disctrict.  I told the nurse my story but she was not convinced.  However since I was still sweaty and flushed and she took my temperature.  I prayed that I would actually have one….and thankfully the temp was there, 99.1, not too high but still febrile.  How I pulled that off the temperature I don’t know to this day because I didn’t expect to have it taken.

The nurse then looked at me and said “Young Man, you do have a mild fever, do you still feel like you are going to throw up?”  I nodded meekly and replied that I thought that I was going to throw up, careful not to look her in the eye because I wanted to look really sick.  She went to the sink and got a paper cup and filled it with warm water.  She then said “You drink this; it will either settle your stomach or bring up whatever is down there.” I had not expected such good fortune; she had given me exactly what I needed to pull off my stunt.  I walked into the adjoining rest room and closed the door.  I looked down and the toilet and looked at the cup up water and smiled. With a grotesque simulation of an episode of projectile vomiting I tossed the water into the toilet.  I did this again and again for about 5 minutes.  When I was done I flushed the toilet, rinsed my face off with warm water and looking even more ill than I had went back into the nurses office.  By that time she was already on the phone with my mom.  “Ma’am, your son is really sick, and throwing up. You need to come and get him now.” The time was 9:30 AM.  She wrote me a note which bought my freedom and told me that she “hoped that I felt better.” I thanked her in a most sincere way saying that “I hoped that I did too,” thanked her and walked slowly to the main entrance of the school on South center Street.

About 9:55 mom came pulling up to the school, she was very concerned and asked “Steven, are you okay? The nurse said that you were really sick.” I said coyly, “Mom, I told you that I would be ready to take my driver’s test, let’s go.”  She gave me the most puzzled expression and said, “But she said that you were really sick.” I simply said, “I know mom, I told you that I would be here.”  Years later I told her the details of how I pulled it off details which totally amazed and disgusted her.

We went to the DMV where I passed the written and the driving test and posed for my first driver’s license picture.  I was street legal and had brazenly pulled off a stunt which not only got me my driver’s license but got me out of school early on a Friday.

I guess that it’s like Ferris Buehler said: “The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptom; I’m a big believer in it. A lot of people will tell you that a good phony fever is a dead lock, but, uh… you get a nervous mother, you could wind up in a doctor’s office. That’s worse than school. You fake a stomach cramp, and when you’re bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school.”

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Why don’t we just call it the Gulf of Whatever we want to call it? Padre Steve Says the Iranians Whine too Much

Warning: Denny Crane over the top alert. Readers with no sense of humor, irony or wit should either turn back now or get a life because I don’t want to hear the whining in the comments section like those infernally serious supporters of Julian Assange.


Well. It seems that the Mullahs in Iran have their turbans in a twist about an entry in the Navy Correspondence manual. It seems that they are deeply hurt and offended that the United States Navy has made official what we have been doing for decades.  We have offended these mangy Mullahs by using the nomenclature Arabian Gulf rather than the Persian Gulf for the body of water that lies between the Arabian Peninsula and the land formerly known as Persia.

You see for centuries this body of water was known as the Persian Gulf and everyone but the Arabs thought that it was okay.  But in the 20th century the Persian for some reason relabeled itself Iran for some ungodly reason. I mean they took a great historical brand name and chucked it for something that only the namby pamby do, they ran to I-ran. They even admit that they ran from the great label of Persia. Think of it, the Persians, ruled half the known world till the Greeks kicked their ass. I’m sure that was like the Yankees losing the 2004 ALCS to the Red Sox but the Yankees didn’t change their name to the Spankees did they? No they didn’t.  I’ll tell you what they did; they just went out and kept buying talent until they won another World Series.

Then they compounded their bad marketing by throwing out their King, taking hostages and doing all sorts of other unseemly stuff like not allowing women to wear mini-skirts or men to drink booze in public. I mean it was like they were trying to create Bob Jones University in the sand.  I for one think that one Bob Jones University is enough and by God it’s an American institution and shouldn’t be exported to people that won’t wear suits and power ties.

I’m sorry but these Iranians want us to keep calling the Arabian Gulf by a name they don’t even call their own country anymore. Sounds like whining to me. After all the only reason it was called the Persian Gulf was that they were the Big Kahuna way back when and stomped all over the Arabs whenever they could and the Arabs loathe them for it.  That’s why the Arabs want us to whack them and wouldn’t object to the Israelis doing it to though they wouldn’t say so publicly.  For crying out loud the Arabs have rights too and they have about the same amount of coastline around this body of water as the county that won’t call their own country Persia anymore.  Sounds like sour grapes to me.  I think that if you change your country name then any right you have to the old name goes away.  You don’t see the Washington Nationals putting on Montreal Expos uniforms on old timer’s day, no they use Washington Senators uniforms.

They act like the USA is insanely jealous of them. Like hell we are. We are a self confident bunch that believes that even if things are really sucky that we will find a way to make lemons out of lemonade even if we have to squeeze a lemon grower or two do it. If we were so petty we would be calling the Gulf of Mexico the Gulf of America because we like circle half of it and anytime oil spills it ends up on our shores not Mexico’s.  But we don’t spite our neighbors to the south by doing this because we’re better than that.  However if Mexico was to up and change its name to France or something like that we would be under no obligation to keep calling it the Gulf of Mexico would we? I dare say not. Pleasantries aside we tell them that if they don’t like their name we call the Gulf whatever we want. Of course the Mexicans have enough real pride and self respect not to rename their country unlike the country that used to be called Persia until they renamed it.

So the “proud” Iranians are upset. Perhaps if they start calling themselves Persia again they would have room for this whiney jibber-jabber. Until then my friends they can pound sand, which I understand that they have a great deal of in their country and the United States Navy can go ahead calling it whatever we want.

Two words my friends,

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

Denny Crane and Padre Steve: Going over the top to Kill Farting Cows

Denny Crane

I think I need to put a picture of Denny Crane up anytime I go over the top and use hyperbole as a literary device.  It seems that a lot of people just don’t get it and take me far too seriously and I have to wonder if it’s the Mad Cow.  I’m sure I have it because

Anyone that knows me or reads this site on a regular basis knows that I will sometimes in pursuit of making a point I will go a little over the top.  I did this last week where killed a bunch of people’s farting cow by suggesting “whacking” Wiki-Leaks founder Julian Assange and his cohorts in anarchy.  I suggested using KGB and CIA and MI-16 type methods and really was way over the top. It was a rant patterned on William Shatner’s character from Boston Legal “Denny Crane.”  In fact I have used such methods in pissing off Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists, religious fundamentalists of various persuasions and others.  In this case I just had to ask “What Would Denny Crane Do?” since I know what Jesus would do based on any number of scriptural interpretations from “Loving grace filled and forgiving Jesus” to “Ass kicking Second Coming Jesus” so I had to look elsewhere. So just remember two words: Padre Steve.

Padre Steve

I think that over the top  hyperbole draws out all the people that have no life or sense of humor or irony and are so committed to his or her particular cause that they cannot bear criticism of their idols, especially when it is done in such a manner.  In fact I find such people to be quite tedious and predictable; they presume wrongly that simply being over the top means that I am like them, doing exactly what they do to those that they disagree with.  They see what they want to see and read their agenda into it.

In the case of the Wiki Leak defenders they presume that everything I say is completely serious and in the case of the offending article some was and much wasn’t especially the whacking part.  Now I do think that the Wiki Leaks people and their leader are terrorists because their goal is not truth but anarchy, and anarchy always breeds tyranny but I am not serious about having Assange and his colleagues in crime killed.  Now in reality there are probably at least a dozen despotic nations that would like to chop them into little itty bitty pieces but that won’t be the United States.  Despite our somewhat soiled white hat we are still the good guys giving our blood and treasure to support many ungrateful nations and we don’t owe Mr. Assange and his bunch anything.

Now as far as my detractors I don’t hide anything. Since I have as of this post 681 articles on this website it would behoove, my I like that uppity word, behoove them to actually read some other posts before passing judgment and calling me everything but a Romulan.  Failing that they can pound sand.

I am a passionate Moderate.  This means in addition to having lots of friends from diverse backgrounds that I can’t put in the same room without fear of bloodshed. I also attract an equally diverse number of detractors some that are quite nasty when they see me killing their farting cows.  You see moderates especially the non-Namby Pamby kinds are not appreciated by those who are absolutely convinced in their rightness and obsessed with whatever agenda they purport.  It’s so much easier for them to pick a side and let someone else tell them what to think and assume that those that kill their farting cows are evil.  I know that the correct term is “fatted calves” but farting cow’s just sounds sillier, after all cows are the leading greenhouse gas producer on the planet, but that is a subject for another post and I digress.

 

I’m sorry what some people call debate is nothing more than judgmental name calling with so little critical thought.  They read something and jump to a preconceived conclusion without doing any real research. In my case all they would have to do is look at the “About” page of this site and figure out that I don’t fit their mould.

It doesn’t matter if the are Julian Assange supporters, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, Japanese China War revisionists, angry religious fundamentalists of a variety religions and sects, Glenn Beck supporters, militant environmentalists and so many others they all have one thing in common.  They are all without exception ideologues that only see things their way and can’t handle anyone that confronts their worldview, or as I say kills their farting cows. When I read their stuff it is amazing to see the anger and vitriol expended by these guys. When I made my over the top comments about Assange and Wiki Leaks I expected this kind of reaction and was surprised that it didn’t happen sooner. With the exception of one named Brian all were rather snarky and two pretty uppity European supporters of Assange.  That’s okay I can handle some name calling as some of Neo Nazis have actually threatened me and called me a lot worse.

Maybe I need to put a picture of Denny Crane up when I decide to post one of these articles again and put the disclaimer up that it’s the “Mad Cow” saying it and not me.

What do ya think?

So until the next time, peace, and remember those two little words,

Padre Steve+

 

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Filed under Just for fun

The Great Montana Dude Ranch Sleepover: Padre Steve’s Solution to Politics as Usual

Sleepover on a Dude Ranch anyone?

I don’t know about you but as a passionate moderate I am fed up with the nasty politics as usual that is killing our country.  Our political ruling class appears to be hell bent on destroying the country all to satisfy their respective need for power and to satisfy the basest wants of their most strident supporters. The corruption and malevolence of the career politicians on both sides of the aisle have bankrupted the country, cost American lives in war, cost American jobs, destroyed our manufacturing base, placed the interests of financial traders who produce nothing except promote the evil practice of usury because it makes them money which they in turn contribute copious amounts of said money to their political patrons.  Then to top it all off they pass laws that make no sense and that you have to have an army of lawyers to understand.  They are out of touch with the everyday concerns of real Americans and have done their best to destroy the fabric of our society in their quest for power and they are many times an unseemly lot who do things that regular people could never get away with. The number of ethics violations, criminal charges and convictions and resignations due to shady financial dealings, backroom deals, sexual scandals and sometimes rather nasty criminal cases are too numerous to catalogue unless you are Matt Drudge.  I won’t list them here but they include notable Democrats as well as Republicans, nor will I go into all the idiotic things that our government, both Democrat and Republican controlled administrations or congresses have done as the task would be ginormous. Since we all get spun up about different issues usually in tune with our own political or social viewpoints I leave it to you my readers to fill in the blanks and comment on what you think they are screwing up.

Part of the problem is that our political ruling class, the Federal Government particular is completely out of touch because they live in the netherworld of Washington D.C.  This city has become the symbol of all that ails the country and since our political class only leaves it to raise money for their next campaigns they have no earthly clue of what the rest of us are experiencing.  Thus they can coddle up to their big financial supporters and most demented party extremists and unseemly lobbyists representing some of the vilest elements of our society.  As a result for at least the past 10 years and I am sure a lot more they have for the most part forgotten the people that they are supposed to represent. The political class doesn’t live in our world, thus they do everything that they can not to look at what is best for the country but rather what is best for them, for their party, their supporters and their agendas.  If you ask me its all out of whack and they really all should be whacked.

Since they all spend far too much time in Washington or raising money to stay there it is high time that they get out of Dodge so to speak.  This is my idea of how we fix this situation.  My suggestion is definitely not politics as usual.  Instead it is based on relationships built from shared suffering and since we are suffering why shouldn’t they suffer too? So here’s my idea. First we shut down the government for a month. Now before you think that you won’t get what the government owes you I don’t mean the people that actually do the work.   What I mean is both houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court.   We shut them down.  Let the clerks of the court do their thing, let the White House staff do its job and congressional aides deal with constituents.  Give the Russians and Chinese, the Iranians, Al Qaida, the European Union and everyone else a message that we’re busy the next month so don’t bother us.  We’ll tell them that if they mind their own business that our stand ins with itchy fingers won’t nuke them. where is Al Haig when you need him the most?  Hey MAD (mutual assured destruction)  worked during the Cold War, after all nothing like an ICBM loaded with multiple nuclear warheads to keep people in line and not do anything really stupid.

So do you hear me Mahmoud and Osama? Do you hear me?  All that would come between you and nuclear annihilation are a few disgruntled civil servants with road rage that just got to work after being stuck in Beltway traffic for 3 hours. Go ahead make our day.

Once we shut the place down we put all of these guys and gals on Greyhound buses packed to the gills.  Each bus would have a mix of members of each party really making sure those that hate each other most sit next to each other.  Secret Service and FBI agents on the buses would have the option to Taser anyone that tries to switch seats.  Then we drive them all to some big assed dude ranch in Montana, outfit them in silly looking cowboy clothes with boots that are a bit too tight and leave them there in the charge of a bunch of cowboys at least two of which have had a recent “Brokeback Mountain” experience.

They would have no cell phones, computers or communications with the outside world or even their minions back in D.C., nope, just them and Mother Nature sharing the experience of high plains living.  In fact to liven the place up we need to bring a few folks back into the mix, some former Presidents and Speakers of the House would do fine. Also the addition of the most strident Cable TV and radio talking heads and commentators would be good too, but I digress, too many extras might spoil the moment.  Maybe we should have a separate sleepover of Rush Limbaugh and Maureen Dowd or Sean Hannity and Keith Olberman later?  No, we’ll throw them into this one to make it more fun.

This dude ranch living would be a bit Spartan. Since most of these folks a Spartan way is driving in a luxury car or SUV, having to fly First Class, staying in a luxury suite or eating at a 4 star restaurant they might have a hard time with what I propose but that would just be tough.    They made this mess and by God we’re going to get them back in touch with the real world and in the process get them to build real relationships with each other instead of the artificial life that they have led inside the beltway for years.

Once we get them to the big assed Dude Ranch we pair them up the best we can with a liberal and a conservative in each cabin.  We would try to keep the cabins of the same gender not to cause too much scandal but would make a few exceptions to that rule.  Now by cabins I don’t mean those really nice cabins that people take real vacations at, no I mean really rustic, Spartan tiny cabins with no amenities and only one bed, a full sized bed that our new roommates would need to share. The cabins would have no couches, easy chairs or love seats, no sleeping bags not even a bearskin rug, nope nothing else but the bed.  They would have a rather rustic communal outhouse to share with everyone else over a deep pit latrine and share their meals in a rather dilapidated chow hall eating off of tin plates and drinking from tin cups.  There would be a camp saloon but it would be like those of the old west, nothing but rotgut whisky, no mixed drinks, no foo-foo appetizers, no micro-brew beer. They would sleep together, eat together and have to participate in trail rides, fly fishing, Grizzly Bear hunting, rodeo events such as bull riding and calf roping as couples, odd couples, but couples nonetheless.  This togetherness would be enforced. Those Secret Service and FBI agents with their tasers… they’ll be out there too.  Anyway when our leaders go on the overnight trail rides the fun really starts.  After they eat their beans from tin plates, sing really bad western songs and take a swig or two or more of rotgut whiskey and then relieve themselves in the manner that the cowboys did in the old West they would get to curl up together in their own two person pup tent, a really small one and spoon.  This would help break down the walls that separate them and force them to get to know each other, some possibly in the Biblical sense of the word, but in the spirit of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell I won’t go there.

There is something about shared suffering to bring people together and make them realize that there is more to life than their own narcissistic agendas and power trips.  No this wouldn’t be prison for them as much as a lot of Americans think that prison would be fitting for them; prison is far too easy for our political class. Instead this would build character, character that if once they had they lost over their years inside the Beltway.

Of course they would not get to pick their room-mates so here are some of my suggestions:

President Obama and Rush Limbaugh: I know I said that the media should have their own version of this but since Limbaugh is the leader of the conservative movement he has to come and buck with his pal Barry.

Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch: They’re both Mormons so they can at least pray together.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Rachel Maddow: I don’t know it just sounds right.

Nancy Pelosi and Antonin Scalia: Sure it’s an opposite sex pairing but they are both Italians they should have fun.

Tom Tancredo and Janet Napolitano: Let’s make a run for the border and mend some fences together

Russ Feingold and Ron Paul: Government control and Libertarianism two great tastes that go great together

John Ensign and Barbara Boxer: He can’t seem to hold it in and she looks like that she could use some loving

Al Franken and Clarence Thomas: A comedian and a straight man…what a combination

John Kerry and John McCain: Both Vietnam Veterans, they understand the value of camaraderie

Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer: The just look like they need to be together

Diane Feinstein and Michael Savage: A San Francisco treat

Barbara Milkulski and Kay Bailey-Hutchinson: Why not?

Joe Lieberman and Arlen Spector: Not opposites but they seem to go together

Samuel Alito and Maureen Dowd: It just sounds right

Eric Holder and Glenn Beck: I sense real chemistry here

Hillary Clinton and Newt Gingrich: He’s out of office but they both want to be President

Barney Frank and Sean Hannity: They debate on his show often enough let them really get to know each other

Sarah Palin and Joe Biden: Not a recognizable cognitive thought between them all hormones and testosterone

Sheila Jackson-Lee and Ann Coulter: Salt and Pepper

Ruth Bader-Ginsberg and Pat Buchannan: It can’t get any better than this

John Boehner and Chris Dodd: I think that they could really come to love each other

Unfortunately some of our more interesting members of our political class have passed on I would have loved to throw Teddy Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Jesse Helms, Ronald Reagan and any number of others into the mix, but what can I say?

So after 30 days our political elites would board their buses and go back to their home districts or home towns.  Then they would have some real town meetings as couples, holding hands, looking dreamily into each other’s eyes and bringing peace to the political landscape.   With those pesky Secret Service and FBI agents and their tasers at the ready our leaders would have to listen to their constituents and not the lobbyists. Speaking of lobbyists they all get sent to New Guinea.   As for the Congressmen and Senators they and their new found friends would have to spend 8 months a year living in their home state or district. The would give up their palatial estates in favor of homes that are in the median real estate price for their area. They would send their kids to public schools, go to PTA meetings, coach little league or soccer, deal with local government officials as the rest of us are forced to do.  They would have to do their own grocery shopping, fight lines at  Wal-Mart, take out their own garbage and spend time sitting in traffic behind the wheel of their average car or SUV. They would fly coach or business class and go through the TSA checkpoints like the rest of us, maybe even getting the full body scan once in a while. They would sit in the drive through line at Wendy’s, make a run for the border, Taco Bell that is and shop for the lowest priced gasoline.   The four months that they spend in Washington DC will be devoted to actually fixing things that they have fouled up over the years.  They would have to pass non-pork laden budgets passed, reduce the deficit and do everything that they can to bring industry back into this country, rebuild the manufacturing base, protecting the environment as they rebuildour nation’s infrastructure and eliminate the barriers that keep small businesses and entrepreneurs from developing solutions to the challenges that face the country.  Likewise they would need to repeal all of the draconian laws that intrude on the everyday life of ordinary Americans. I want the Federal government out of our churches, out of our local public schools, out of our bedrooms and out of everything that they don’t belong in. Freedom baby, I love it.

Finally just to make sure that our now properly schooled public servants don’t forget the lessons of the Great Montana Dude Ranch Sleepover they would for two weeks each year have to do this again. Maybe it could be a trail ride in Texas and Oklahoma, a swamp safari in Louisiana complete with no mosquito repellent. Perhaps a winter camp out at the Donner Pass, a gang- reenactment camp in East L.A. or an Appalachian family get together, still building and moonshine making contest in some holler in West Virginia or Eastern Kentucky. The possibilities in our great country are endless after all learning should be a lifetime event.

Of course my pairings of political bedfellows may not work for you, maybe you have better ones.  If so feel free to add them as a comment and on this one no pairing will be denied because it’s all about togetherness.  Because as I see it everything comes down to relationships and if we can just get these folks out of Washington to share some hardship, to eat together, ride together and even spoon together after all who can’t say that they don’t feel closer to someone after spooning together?

Now before you think that I am advocating that they all have higgily-piggily sex together I am not.  However if it does happen and they get right with each other and start to work together for us what can be wrong with it? Half have probably had nasty sex with people that aren’t their spouses anyway so what difference does it make? It would be a sacrifice that they make for us, their fellow Americans.  I know that I don’t want to sleep with any of them and figure that you don’t either and I really don’t want to know what happens when they spoon.  Don’t ask don’t tell baby, don’t ask don’t tell.  Besides would you want to know what happens when Sean Hannity and Barney Frank spoon? I don’t. I’ll say it again, don’t ask, don’t tell that’s my rule for life.

If this works maybe just maybe that they will finally start looking to the issues that Americans care about. Maybe they will finally understand the desire that we all have to see our children grow up to have the opportunity to outdo us, that our children might have a better future and that the country that we live in would come together like we did in the Second World War to overcome all the obstacles that stand between us and a better future. Call me a genius or call me crazy, chalk it up to Mad Cow, after all I can’t give blood because I lived in Europe and ate too much beef. But remember “Padre Steve” is a “Uniter” not a divider, a decider not a ditherer and a real American for real Americans.

Padre Steve: a passionate moderate with radical ideas.  Sleepover anyone?

1 Comment

Filed under Just for fun, laws and legislation, philosophy, Political Commentary

Padre Steve a Marxist? Oh Please Give the Padre a Break

“You took a few well known history facts added some negroid glitz and glam, and arrogantly rest on your piss bucket of drivel as if you know something. You meinen Herr are a cretinous asshole of predictable disposition. I smell the ratty fumes of a Marxist lurking beneath your pebbled vskin.” Briar Cavendish

I had this interesting comment a couple of nights ago from an obviously devoted fan.  I have never met this fan but obviously he is sure that he knows me pretty well. I was surprised by the comments since they occurred in reference to a piece on World War Two and not anything to do with anything controversial that I have written.  What is strange is this devoted fan, let me call him Briar Cavendish who would have an e-mail address something like “briarcavendish@yahoo.com” decided to post the following as a comment on my article “Can Anybody Spare a DIME: A Short Primer on Early Axis Success and How the Allies Won the Second World War” located at https://padresteve.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/can-anybody-spare-a-dime-a-short-primer-on-early-axis-success-and-how-the-allies-won-the-second-world-war/#comment-1050

My admirer Briar, wow that rhymed! Maybe I should be a poet.  Anyway I digress; my admirer Briar penned this poisoned post in response to that rather innocuous article. Of course I must add, and I will add for the record that this rather innocuous article is in fact is so innocuous that any person with more than half a working brain would wonder what in it could be so onerous that my admirer Briar found it so objectionable.  Please help me here I beg you my readers. You must help me here because with the amount of venom spewed by Briar I have to wonder….I have to ask myself the questions “Why this? Why me? Why now?”  What have I done in this innocuous little article that would engender such a hateful response?  Why this article and not the one criticizing Glenn Beck? Why me, certainly there are bigger fish to fry, real Marxists and why now of all times?  Could it be that it is my admirer Briar himself who is a closet Marxist and lives his life in shadows afraid that he might be exposed like the Cretin, the Vulgar Latin type that he is not?  Perhaps he must do this because he is afraid that the NSA and its Carnivore program will uncover his dirty little secret. But I speculate.

Obviously my admirer Briar really doesn’t know me as well as he thinks that he does, however from the tone of his little love note I would dare say that he is obviously a person that hangs on the words of very popular talk show hosts like Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, G. Gordon Liddy and Josef Goebbels to name but a few.

I find it interesting that he first insults my work using racist language and then calls me arrogant and my work a “piss bucket of drivel.”  Actually I found this rather amusing except for the horribly blatant racial slur directed at African Americans which I thought was pretty hateful as I would expect most patriotic Americans would.  But since I attend a historically African American church I sort of take such comments rather personally as the folks at St James are my dear friends. Since obviously my admirer Briar is a racist and I’m not referring to someone who worships at the Church of NASCAR, Indy, Formula One or even the Kentucky Derby, but rather Klan kind of racist. Thus I must presume that my admirer Briar is a racist who doesn’t like black people and probably doesn’t like Mexicans, Asians, Jews or Moslems either but again this is purely speculation and I wouldn’t want to impugn my admirer Briar’s character.

As far as being called arrogant well, I cannot entirely claim innocence.  My friends I hate to admit that in some parts of my life the charge of being arrogant is true as my dear wife the Abbess can attest.  She can also attest to the fact that on occasion I can be an asshole a charge that that again it would be wrong of me to deny.  However I would patently object to being called “cretinous” as the term is used by my admirer Briar in a pejorative sense implying that I am some sort of deformed and retarded person.  However my admirer Briar then if you look at the actual definition of the word is comes from the Vulgar Latin term for Christians. The definition is here:

cre·tin (krtn) n. 1. A person afflicted with cretinism. n2. Slang An idiot. [French crétin, from French dialectal, deformed and mentally retarded person found in certain Alpine valleys, from Vulgar Latin *christinus, Christian, human being, poor fellow, from Latin Chrstinus, Christian; see Christian.] cretin·oid (-oid) adj. cretin·ous (-s) adj.

So obviously in the Vulgar Latin I would have to plead guilty to being “cretinous” since at last I recall I am a Christian and have papers to prove it, even wear a Cross on my uniform.  Likewise, as most people that know me can attest I certainly cannot be called “predictable” unless it is in my love of the one true religion of Baseball so my admirer Briar is just a tad off in knowing my habits.

I do like being addressed as “my Lord” as my paternal family hailed from Scottish nobility, although the correct use of the German should have been “Mein Herr” as that is the nominative masculine case instead of the masculine accusative case which would have been correct if he had said “Ich hasse Meinen Herr Padre Steve” or in English “I hate my Lord Padre Steve.”  So my admirer Briar is not good with German grammar but then how many people are outside Germany.

As far as being a Marxist such would be difficult as a Christian since I like believe in God which I believe that Marx, not Groucho, Harpo or Zippo but Karl called the “opiate of the masses.”  But even so such a characterization of this cuddly but miscreant Priest would be inaccurate as I am certainly not a Marxist sympathizer but rather a pretty middle of the road moderate American who has served his country for over 28 years and served in combat.  As far as “ratty fumes” I do confess to occasionally have some flatulence but usually do to the healthy salads that I consume which by the way chalked full of vegetables including plenty of banana and jalapeño peppers.  What can I say? I have turned over a dietary leaf.

Now as far as my skin goes most people would be proud to have my luxuriant skin which certainly cannot be called “pebbled” because the medical and biological description doesn’t wash.  My skin is pristine for my age, something that men and women would lust after and probably pay money to have. In fact it is so nice that in order to show more of it I shave my head which is a perfect shape to display my luxuriant skin which graces the top of my head like dome of the Jefferson Memorial.

I have no idea what my admirer Briar’s major malfunction is. Perhaps he is just a racist bigot who assumes that anyone who chooses to use their brain is a Marxist.  Why do it on this article I haven’t a clue.  Perhaps he is just a hate filled person mad because his party didn’t win an election.  Maybe he is a coward who has never served his country and to cover up his shame has to accuse someone who has served his country; someone who has been decorated for his service in Iraq who went unarmed into very dangerous situations because it was the right thing to do as being a Marxist.

I think this is reflective on the character of this man.   It appears that he is too much of a coward to do anything but do a drive by on my blog to attempt to do some character assassination and limp away like john Wilkes Booth.  Maybe my admirer Briar is a frustrated wannabe military historian or perhaps a hack who also happens to be a hack with no more than a high school education but presumes that because he has seen a few movies and read a few books that he is an expert in military history and theory.  Whatever he is I am sure that he does not have my academic credentials including being a graduate of the Marine Command and Staff College and having multiple graduate degrees in theology and military history. If he did he would not stoop to this kind of ad hominem attack.

You see I think that my admirer Briar is a poster child for the sick condition of political and intellectual debate in this country. I mean what the hell is going on? This isn’t the country that I grew up in.  In fact I believe that that my admirer Briar is symbolic of the vitriolic hatred that has consumed both sides of the political aisle.  Let’s face it voices like Briar’s fill the airwaves and the internet as pathological ideologues sacrifice civility, decorum and truth on the altar of gross political expediency defaming, maligning and using the basest language, actions and symbols to paint their opponents as Marxists, Fascists, Socialists or even Nazis. We don’t live in the United States of America anymore we have been transported through some sort of tear in the space time continuum back to the days of Weimar Germany. My Lord what’s next? Street battles between extremists consumed by such hatred that they would destroy the country in order to save it? God help us all.

In the interest of fairness I ask you my readers to write my admirer Briar at briarcavendish@yahoo.com and tell him what you think of him.  Please know this is the e-mail that he left with his approved comment on this site so please let him know what you think.  If you of course disagree with me the manner to do so is in the comments section.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under philosophy, Political Commentary

Tides Bats go Silent: Tides Lose 6-1 to Charlotte

Chris Tillman got the Start and the Loss

It was a dark and murky night and it seems that with the return of our typical April Hampton Roads weather the bats of the Norfolk Tides have gone on vacation.  For the third consecutive night the Tides were outhit by their opponent and sports fans the game was about as pretty as the weather for the home team. After putting up 12 runs and 14 hits on Saturday night the Tides seemed flummoxed as to how to come up with key hits when they have men on base in scoring position.

There was little positive in tonight’s outing as a sparse crowd of 2456 thinned out to about 20 fans plus the ushers and the remaining vending staff who were cleaning up their stands and kiosks by beginning of the 9th inning.  Even the obnoxious drunk heckler up in one of the luxury boxes was cold and lonely until the lovely Heather of the Tides staff ever so deftly shut him up.  The weather which was cold and breezy to start the game continually got worse until by the 7th inning a heavy and steady mist buffeted by stronger winds made playing and viewing the game unbearable and even the most loyal and diehard fans wrapped in blankets and jackets took to flight as the game slipped away from the Tides.  Of course I stayed to the bitter end making me one of the game’s “bitter enders.”

In the midst of the miserable weather the Tides started Orioles prospect and potential future starter Chris Tillman against Lucas Harrell of the Knights.  Harrell would allow no runs and give up 5 hits striking out 7 on the way to the win.  Tillman pitched 4.2 innings giving up 3 runs on 8 hits and a walk, striking out 4.  Chris did not seem comfortable and the Knights kept the pressure on Tillman with solid hits finally breaking through to score their first run in the 3rd inning.  Tillman allowed a two out triple in the 1st inning to Stefan Gartrell but retired the side and got the Knights in order in the 2nd.  In the 3rd after getting Javier Castillo to ground out gave up a double to Robert Hudson who scored when Jordan Danks singled to right. Tillman then retired Gartrell to end the inning.  The Tides went down in order in the bottom of the third.

The Knights started the fourth with singles from Josh Kroeger and Tyler Flowers but Tillman was able to pitch his way out of trouble.  In the bottom half of the inning the Tides attempted to get a two out rally going when Scott Moore singled and Brandon Snyder drew a base on balls but the runners died on the base paths when Josh Bell grounded out to Second Baseman Rob Hudson.

Andy Mitchell who holds the Tides record for Victories made his first appearance of 2010

In the fifth inning Tillman got into trouble when Hudson and Brent Lillibridge singled to lead of the inning but Hudson was forced at third on a bunt by Jordan Danks.  Tillman struck out Gartrell but then gave up a walk to Lillibridge to load the bases.  This would bring Tides Manager Gary Allenson to the mound and end Tillman’s outing with the bases loaded.  Tides veteran Andy Mitchell who was activated earlier in the day made his 2010 debut at Harbor Park. Mitchell has the all time record for number of victories as a Tide and Knight’s catcher Tyler Flowers welcomed Andy back to Harbor Park by lacing a single to right scoring both Lillibridge and Danks with the runs being charged to Tillman.  Mitchell then struck out Virgil Viciedo to end the inning. The Tides threatened in the bottom of the fifth when Michael Aubrey doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third when Joey Gathright delivered a two out single.  However both were left stranded when Harrell struck out Robert Andino for his third strike out of the inning.

The few the Proud the “Bitter Enders”

The Knights went back to work in the top of the sixth scoring three more runs beginning with a leadoff single by C. J. Retherford. Mitchell then got Javier Castillo to fly out to right but gave up a single to Rob Hudson which advanced Retherford to second. Brent Lillibridge then doubled to deep right scoring Retherford and putting runners on second and third with only one out.  Mitchell then intentionally walked Jordan Danks and struck out Gartrell.  Josh Kroeger then hit a ground ball to deep second which Scott Moore made a great spot but was unable to get the out and both Hudson and Lillibridge.  Tyler flowers was retired by Mitchell on a ground ball to second which hit the bag and popped up allowing Michael Aubrey to make the play and possibly save an extra base hit.  The Tides went down in order in the bottom half of the inning as a heavy swirling mist began to come down driving off almost all remaining fans.

In the seventh Mitchell gave up singles to Viciedo and Retherford but got Javier Castillo to ground into a double play and stuck out Rob Hudson.  In the bottom of the 7th the Tides scored their only run of the game after Justin Cassell came in to relieve Harrell.  Josh Bell struck out to begin the inning and the sharp eye of Michael Aubrey gained him a base on balls. Rhyne Hughes singled to right advancing Aubrey to second. Catcher Adam Donachie walked and Joey Gathright hit into a force which scored Aubrey and Robert Andino grounded out to end the inning.

Another One Bites the Dust…Rhyne Hughes grounds out

The Knights went quietly in the 9th with Mitchell giving up a single to Jordan Danks as did the Tides who went down in order.

Frank Mata came in to replace Mitchell in the top of the ninth and promptly hit Tyler Flowers with a pitch.  Dayan Viciedo walked and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Retherford then popped out to Robert Andino. Javier Castillo reached on a fielder’s choice when Scott Moore took the ball and caught Flowers between third and home.  Moore ran across the diamond to make the play on the third base line.  Robert Hudson then was out on a foul tip after fouling off two balls into my hands behind home plate.  Not a bad haul for Padre Steve.  In the bottom half of the inning the Knights brought in Clevelan Santeliz to finish off the hapless Tides taking them down in order to end the game.

In all the Knights had 6 runs on 16 hits and left 12 men on base. The Tides scored 1 run on 6 hits leaving 7 on base.  Knight’s pitchers struck out 11 Tides in the game with Lucas Harrell getting the win and Chris Tillman the loss.  The two teams will play Wednesday afternoon with Jake Arrieta pitching for the Tides and Knights ace and White Sox prospect Carlos Torres facing each other.  I won’t be there as I have to work.  Such is life.  Wish I could see you there.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s World…Musings of a Passionate Moderate at One Year…

When I started Padre Steve’s World…Musings of a Passionate Moderate one year ago it was pretty much an place for me to deal with what was going on with me after coming back from Iraq in February 2008. When I started the site I was still pretty much a mess.  Initially the site began as a place to deal with what was going on in me and as I began to write I began to realize that there was a lot more going on in me than I had imagined. As I began to hit the keyboard and fill cyber trees with my musings it was at times cathartic and even painful.  I cannot recount the number of times that I would start writing and end up in tears trying to get hold of myself.  This was especially true when writing about Iraq, PTSD and the spiritual crisis which enveloped my life over the past two years.  There are still times when I will read some of those posts and feel the emotions well of from the depths of my soul and nearly overwhelm me.  Since I am by nature a thinker who is much more comfortable in the realm of logic, fact and exploring concepts and not someone who is really wired well for these ugly things called emotions this was unsettling to say the least. It was like LCDR Data in Star Trek the Next Generation getting the emotion chip….very unsettling. As a result as a logical kind of person I had to find a way to make sense of my world and all the changes that I was experiencing.

As I did this the number of subjects that I wrote about began to multiply not just PTSD and Iraq and my struggles with life, faith and where I fit on the theological and political spectrum but branched out into baseball which I guarantee that you will see a lot more of, history, military history and military theory; theological, philosophical and ethical issues and matters of social and political controversy.  As I wrote I began to live in the moment and in real time take on things that hit me where I was.

With My Dad in May 2009

Enmeshed in the all that I was going through were my real life and current struggles with my father’s Alzheimer’s disease, struggles with my mother and my relentless push into the issues of life and death in the Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in the medical center where I serve and a multitude of other duties.  Eventually I hit the wall and my boss rearranged my duties in order to give me the chance to begin to heal emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I still remained engaged but he smartly limited me so that I would have a chance to recover.  Thankfully, despite my initial reluctance to do this it was the right move.  In December I had what can only be called a Christmas miracle where after nearly two years I began to feel reconnected to my faith and revitalized in life and ministry.  Thankfully that continues even now.

With Judy and Stein Club Friends at Gordon Biersch Virginia Beach

While writing on this site I have encountered a lot of very kind people from all walks of life who have served to encourage me and by some stroke of luck on their part found that things that I wrote helped them or touched them in some way.  I have also encountered some people who to be kind are idiots, but who in their own way also helped me along the path to doing better spiritually and emotionally and to better formulate the theological, philosophical and existential foundations of whom I am as a Priest, Chaplain and Naval Officer.

My Time in Iraq has Changed Me

So without getting deeper into that right now what has been the result of this site?  Personally it has allowed me to integrate my experience in Iraq with the rest of my life and to become much more settled and happy with the person that I am. The site itself and the subjects that I have written about have become much more diverse than I could have expected.  From PTSD, spirituality, ethics and philosophy, history and military theory as well as baseball the site has dealt with issues such as gay rights, abortion, right and left wing ideologues, heath care, freedom of speech, the civil rights movement, the rights of minority groups such as Moslems, the nature of the American republic, national security counterinsurgency history and theory, local issues, music, television, relationships, football, the Olympics, veterans issues, relationships, the death of shipmates and friends, love and a ton of writing on various military history subjects as well as things much less serious and just simply humorous.  There is a series of articles on my deployment to Iraq which is incomplete and that I need to finish, a number of series about Navy ships and even a alternative history about the Battle of Kursk.

Jackie Robinson in His Kansas City Monarchs Uniform

It has also brought me back in contact with people in my life that helped me at various times or the relatives of those friends who have since passed away.  I have had comments from people in Europe, Australia, other locations around the world and many of the 50 States.

More Military History is Certainly on the Horizon

The site has surprisingly to me had a bit over 851.000 visitors and had articles on military history and theory translated into other languages including Russian.  The most traffic that I had in a 24 hour period was on November 5th 2009 when 6,713 visitors showed up, good thing it was cyber space or I would have never had enough beer or food. The most hits in a month were also in November with 112,672 while my average number of hits per day was 2251 in 2009 and 2878 in 2010. I have had articles linked to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Slate.com, the Huffington Post, Jay Mariotti’s ESPN blog and a bunch of other places that I never expected it to attract attention.  In the coming year I hope that it will be even more successful.

The Most Popular Seach Term…Star Trek

People tend to find this site through a wide variety of search terms the most popular of which are: Star Trek, Kirsten Dunst, Checkpoint Charlie, Hitler, Martin Luther, Tom Brady, Joan Jett, Satchel Paige, Caen and Einsatzgruppe.

The top ten posts over the first year are:

Star Trek, God and Me 1966 to 2009 (May 29th 2009)

Halloween Book Burning Update: Bring the Marshmallows Please! (October 25th 2009)

The Ideological War: How Hitler’s Racial Theories Influenced German Operations in Poland and Russia (September 14th 2009)

I Miss the Music of the 70’s and 80’s (January 9th 2010)

D-Day Courage Sacrifice and Luck (June 6th 2009)

The Forgotten Cold Warriors (July 26th 2009)

Operation “Dachs” My First Foray into the Genre “Alternative History” (August 9th 2009)

Cowboys Stadium meets Seinfeld: A Scoreboard and a Nose that You Can’t Miss (August 30th 2009)

Turning Points: The Battle of Midway, Randy Johnson Gets his 300th Win and Chief Branum Gets Her Star (June 4th 2009)

Reformation Day: How Martin Luther and Hans Kung Brought Me to an Anglo-Catholic Perspective, a Book and Bible Burning Reaches Ludicrous Speed and Yankees take Game Three 8-5 (October 31st 2009)

I Miss the Music of the 1970s and 1980s Gained More Hits in a Shorter Amount of Time than Any other Post

Now some articles that have not attracted as many hits but I think are worthy of mention are listed below. Some are more specialized in their emphasis but certainly worthwhile.

Lessons for the Afghan War: The Effects of Counterinsurgency Warfare on the French Army in Indo-China and Algeria and the United States Military in Vietnam (October 26th 2009)

Brothers to the End…the Bond between those Who Serve Together in Unpopular Wars (July 10th 2009)

Remembering the Veteran’s of My Life has Been a Big Part of my Journey

Remembering the Veterans in My Life…Memorial Day 2009 (May 21st 2009)

How Padre Steve Got His Driver’s License, Passed Geometry, Escaped Advanced Algebra and Selects Mood Music for a Book Burning (October 25th 2009)

This is Nuts…The “Conservative Bible Project” (October 4th 2009)

The Manhattan Transfer: Why I Cannot Sign the Manhattan Declaration (December 2nd 2009)

Learning to Apply the Principles of Counterinsurgency Part One: Introduction to the Soviet-Afghan War (January 7th 2010)

Revisting the Demons of PTSD: Returning to Iraq in Virginia a Year and a Half Later (July 21st 2009)

Baseball in Between Life and Death in the ICU (May 7th 2009)

Can Anybody Spare a DIME: A Short Primer on Early Axis Success and How the Allies Won the Second World War (November 28th 2009)

Padre Steve’s Christmas Miracle (December 24th 2009)

Vindictive Angry Christians: When Faith is subordinated to a Political Agenda Redemption Dies (February 6th 2010)

Jackie Robinson and Dr. Martin Luther King they Changed America (January 18th 2010)

Mark McGuire, Tony LaRussa and the Dirty Secret of the Steroid Era (January 12th 2010)

Padre Steve’s World Series Prediction and Book and Bible Burning Update (October 27th 2009)

My Life and Baseball: How Padre Steve Makes Some Sense of the World (October 15th 2009)

For the Love of the Game and the Love of Life; Finding Meaning Life and Love in the Perfect Game (October 13th 2009)

You Win a Few, You Lose a Few. Some Get Rained Out. But You Got to Dress for All of Them (June 12th 2009)

So what is next?  Some of the things I want to do are to finish the Going to War series and continue to write military and naval history and theory.  I also want to do more with baseball and begin to write more about the Negro Leagues as I have an idea for a book that I want to pursue this year. I figure that there will be planned and unplanned ventures in theology, philosophy, ethics and social issues.

Above all I hope to remain a moderate in all and try to always remain objective and not be captivated by any ideology.  I will be writing an essay in the next few days about ideologues and the various idols that they fashion of their ideology, but that is not for tonight.  I’m sure that those on the extremes of the right and left will not find that a comfortable subject but certainly something that needs for the sake of truth to be addressed.

I am hoping to be published in some professional journals in the coming year and as baseball season takes off I will definitely keep you informed of my view of that most wonderful of sports from my place in Section 102, Row B Seats 1 and 2 at the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish.

So I thank all of my readers who have through their reading and comments helped me through this past year and I pray God’s blessings on you all in the coming year.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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Padre Steve’s Thanksgiving Thoughts

The Abbess: “Steve would you pray for the food?”

Padre Steve: “Dear Lord we pray for this turkey and all of it’s relatives on this Thanksgiving. We ask you to comfort them in their sorrow and give them your peace. Amen.”   Padre Steve’s Thanksgiving prayer from 1992.  I think the last time that we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner.

I am on duty tonight, pretty tired and I have been pretty busy this evening.  Hopefully things will settle down and no one will take any turns for the worse that will cause them or their families to have to mourn on this Thanksgiving 2009.  We have several in pretty bad shape as well as some I know not in hospital who are in pretty dire straits.

But since things have settled down a little I do need on this Thanksgiving Eve pause to give thanks for all of the blessings that I have been given.  I also need to give thanks for  wife who has had to suffer all of my rough edges, refusal to completely grow up, my wanderlust, dreams as well as my obsession with work, academics and yea verily, even baseball.

I am grateful for so many things but most of all the Abbess of the Abby Normal.  This dear soul has put up with me yea these 26 years of marriage and the 31 years that we have known each other.  She has had to deal with a husband who has devoted himself to a military career and vocation as a Priest that has spanned 28 years of that time.  She has endured separations too many to count and a decent number of deployments, unaccompanied tours and temporary duty out of the areas that we have lived.  In the 20 or so months that I have been back from Iraq she has also had to deal with my struggle with PTSD and all the trimmings that go with it.  Likewise she has had to see me grieve my dad, who though still alive only exists in body and does not know me anymore. I am truly thankful for the wife that I am blessed to have.

I think I have tried this dear woman’s patience quite often in our marriage, of course I do not think that she has forgotten the 1992 “Prayer for the Food.”  It is dangerous sometimes to ask me to pray because I might just take you literally, as I did the Abbess back in 1992 who slipped up and instead of asking me to “ask a blessing on the meal” “say grace” or simply “give thanks” but rather asked me to “pray for the food.” Something that I did, and I think that the prayer was actually longer as I remember making eye contact with her during the prayer as she glared daggers at me as the guests either giggled or listened in stunned silence. This will surprise no one who really knows me well.  Tonight as I made my rounds in our cardiac care unit I noticed one of the newer high-tech CPR dummies looking bored in the training/ conference room.  I had to remedy the situation.  Taking the obviously bored and neglected dummy I set him in a high-backed office chair facing the television which happened to be on.  I so arranged him so that a person coming in the room would see the back of the head, which happens to be bald like mine as it was looking at the TV.

Bob the CPR Dummy Watching TV

A person entering from the hallway into the unit would see the profile for the dummy.  This one is kind of cool as it has a shirt and the facial features are more realistic than the old style.  I did let the charge nurse know so he could get a laugh out of anyone who does a double take as they enter the unit bleary eyed at two or three in the morning.  I mentioned my misdeeds to my buddies Cinda and Jennifer over in the PICU who both got a laugh out of it.

Bob Chilling Out

I think the greatest honor that I had on a Thanksgiving  was in 2007 serving in Iraq. I got  a chance to serve the troops and workers in the chow hall at TQ after coming back that afternoon from an aborted mission to Waleed on the Syrian border when our air support mission was cancelled when a host of Congressmen, Senators and dignitaries decided that they needed to visit Iraq leaving us and quite a few others marooned at Al Asad’s air terminal for 4 days as they flew about Iraq in our aircraft.  Thankfully when I knew that we could not get anywhere the west and that we had to return to TQ so we could prepare for our next mission later in the week I got us on a C-130 back to TQ which delivered us home in time for me to help serve at the dinner that night.  I was in charge of the Mac n’ Cheese and the Sweet potatoes.  So since Mac n’  Cheese was not in my typical Thanksgiving dinner growing up I figured that I had to sell it.  So with that in mind as each person came up to where I was I would say “Get your Mac n’ Cheese, an American Classic….8 of 10 customers agree that this is the best Mac n’ Cheese in Iraq.”  The servers from the Gulf Catering Company who were to my right and left, both from the Indian subcontinent somewhere had very limited English but were laughing as I served people and even called people over to my serving station from across the room. When the workers got a chance to come up and eat knowing that they were mainly vegetarians  I would say, “step right up, get your Mac n’ Cheese an American delicacy making American kids fat for years.” I don’t know if they bought the shtick but they did come back for more and most were smiling.

This year because of my duty schedule as well as my comprehensive exams the Abbess has done most of the work, even the turkey which is usually my job. When I go home I will help her with what I can since she has worked hard to get ready for this.  After all, we haven’t hosted one of these since 1992 so I’d better help.

Anyway, it is late and with any luck the Deity Herself will grant me a night’s sleep with no 2 AM pages.

Peace and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  Please pray for my fellow Sailors, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen who serve in harm’s way, those who suffer the wounds of war in any form and those in need in the USA as well as around the world.  Despite all of our countries issues we still have so much to be thankful for to live in such a country.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know that I am grateful and thankful for all the blessings that God has given me and all the people who have been there for me.  God bless you again.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Peace,

Padre Steve+

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