Christmas Cheer, according to George S. Patton, Jr.

Patton was a serious man, and thankfully he left behind two missives that defined his leadership within the realm of Christmas during the legendary Battle of the Bulge.  First is the prayer he commissioned from Third Army Chaplain Msgr. Francis O’Neill for better fighting weather and then his personal Christmas greeting to his troops.  As the Commander of the Third Army, as a Lieutenant General (three stars, like Flynn), and as a God fearing man, he spoke from his heart with a two-part Christmas message to his Army.

“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies, and establish Thy justice among men and nations. Amen.”  Then his greeting:  “To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day. -G.S. Patton, Jr. Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.”... [Read More]

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Book Review: Europa’s Lost Expedition

“Europa's Lost Expedition” by Michael CarrollIn the epoch in which this story is set the expansion of the human presence into the solar system was well advanced, with large settlements on the Moon and Mars, exploitation of the abundant resources in the main asteroid belt, and research outposts in exotic environments such as Jupiter’s enigmatic moon Europa, when civilisation on Earth was consumed, as so often seems to happen when too many primates who evolved to live in small bands are packed into a limited space, by a global conflict which the survivors, a decade later, refer to simply as “The War”, as its horrors and costs dwarfed all previous human conflicts.

Now, with The War over and recovery underway, scientific work is resuming, and an international expedition has been launched to explore the southern hemisphere of Europa, where the icy crust of the moon is sufficiently thin to provide access to the liquid water ocean beneath and the complex orbital dynamics of Jupiter’s moons were expected to trigger a once in a decade eruption of geysers, with cracks in the ice allowing the ocean to spew into space, providing an opportunity to sample it “for free”.... [Read More]

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The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters, by CS Lewis

Have you ever read The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis? I’ve read the whole thing a couple times. The audio version, which is brilliantly narrated by John Cleese, is also available on Youtube. I’ve listened to that as well.

In this book, Lewis created a character called Screwtape who is the uncle of a junior tempter named Wormwood. They are both demons, in the traditionally Christian sense. The setting is entirely Christian, but from a demonic point of view. Screwtape has some position of authority within the demon hierarchy, “an under-secretary of a department.” The nephew has been assigned to tempt a young man so that he ends up in hell. Screwtape writes letters to his nephew containing instructions and advice towards that end, and he does this as both an uncle and as an under-secretary.... [Read More]

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Won’t you be my neighbor?

Did any of you see the Mr. Rogers movie with Tom Hanks? It wasn’t really even about Mr. Rogers. It was about a man who interviewed him for Esquire magazine in about 1998, and is based on that story. I made sure I had tissues in my purse because I suspected I’d need them, and sure enough I did. Reminded me of me when my life was a lot more simple, before it got really complex and lonely. The main character undergoes some spiritual and emotional growth as a result of spending time with Rogers. It’s a good story, wholesome and true.

Anyway, did you see it? Did you like it?... [Read More]

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Pushy Religion

In the [Barna] study of 1,067 US adults, a quarter of respondents said their view of evangelicals was “somewhat negative” or “very negative”, compared to just under a third (30%) who said their perception was “somewhat positive” or “very positive”. 

Of the 268 respondents with a negative perception of evangelicals, two thirds (67%) said this attitude was because they felt evangelicals were “too pushy with their beliefs“.  Sixty-one per cent said that evangelicals were “hypocritical”, while half said they were “homophobic” and a similar proportion (51%) said “their beliefs are outdated”.  …One result that surprised Barna was the large proportion of Millennial Americans (52%) who have a neutral attitude towards evangelicals. ... [Read More]

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The Pill

“There is a lack of research on the effects of oral contraceptives on this small but essential part of the living human brain,” said Michael L. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., FACR, professor of radiology at the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and medical director of MRI Services at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

Yes, a lack of research. You might think that regular use of a powerful neuroaffective chemical cocktail would have attracted mountains of research. But that is not the case.... [Read More]

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This Week’s Book Review – The Best of Jerry Pournelle

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]

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Seeing Life Through a Magnifying Glass

I don’t know why we did it but I remember watching friends on a hot day using a magnifying glass to burn ants. If I remember right I think one was from a box of Cracker Jacks. It was cheap and plastic but effective. I share this because when I think of a magnifying glass I remember those days because the Japanese word for it is “bug glass”.

Recently a friend of mine, a retired high school principal is having trouble reading books. As one gets older the print gets smaller. His eyes are getting worse. In the old days the only option would be to pull out a “bug glass”. Luckily, we live in an age that has gone digital. An e-book can’t change its stripes but it can change its font size. It can be somewhere between extra large and huge for those that need it. He can read again.... [Read More]

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Christmas Music

Christmas is nearly upon us, heralded by the first round of parties this weekend. It seems friends are scheduling gatherings ever earlier in the month to avoid conflicts with holiday travel and others’ parties. That’s put me in a holiday mood so I though I’d share my YouTube Christmas playlist, along with some comments about each song. The playlist spans about five centuries and several musical genres, roughly in chronological order.

Gaudete is a medieval carol from the 16th century expressing joy at the birth of Christ. It’s a simple tune that evokes a very different world.... [Read More]

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Postcards of Death

In Japan, the big holiday is New Year. There is a tradition of sending New Year’s Cards and giving money to young people before they have enter the ranks of society. There is an exception to sending New Year’s cards though. This is if a close member of your family has died in the year. In that case you send cards to your friends telling them of the death so therefore no cards this year. So far I have received four of these cards. It is called “ mochū hagaki“. I hope next year will be easier on my friends.

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Curmudgeon Muses While Writing More Checks

I am sitting in my home office/lair/fortress of solitude/batcave trying to catch up on the dental companies supply chain backlog after the holiday while also searching Amazon for sharks with freaking lasers on their heads (No lair complete without them) and keeping the notifications of the Nadler-Pelosi remake of 12 Angry Men in the background processor of my brain stem.

Meanwhile, I have a very young and competent installer for my new water treatment system who knows what he is doing and is service oriented to a fault drilling holes in my garage and sewer runoff pipes. (Only surprise expense in the whole move. Not bad) I feel confident the blue collar gen z folks are our future. This one was telling me about how he is doing well with a full plate of work and feels sorry for his friends who went to college.... [Read More]

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Book Review: I Will Bear Witness. Vol. 2

“I Will Bear Witness”, vol. 2. by Victor KlempererThis is the second volume in Victor Klemperer’s diaries of life as a Jew in Nazi Germany. Volume 1 covers the years from 1933 through 1941, in which the Nazis seized and consolidated their power, began to increasingly persecute the Jewish population, and rearm in preparation for their military conquests which began with the invasion of Poland in September 1939.

I described that book as “simultaneously tedious, depressing, and profoundly enlightening”. The author (a cousin of the conductor Otto Klemperer) was a respected professor of Romance languages and literature at the Technical University of Dresden when Hitler came to power in 1933. Although the son of a Reform rabbi, Klemperer had been baptised in a Christian church and considered himself a protestant Christian and entirely German. He volunteered for the German army in World War I and served at the front in the artillery and later, after recovering from a serious illness, in the army book censorship office on the Eastern front. As a fully assimilated German, he opposed all appeals to racial identity politics, Zionist as well as Nazi.... [Read More]

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Miracles

The first thought after seeing this was to make sure my fellow Ratters see it, too.  The is a 19 minute glimpse into some recent history that is epic in nature; it’s horrifying, interesting, thought provoking and metaphysical all at once.  This video’s impact is on par with Bill Whittle’s examination of the nuclear strikes on Japan.

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This Week’s Book Review – From Kites to Cold War

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]

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Boycott Chick-fil-A

A few days ago Ratburgher Robert A. McReynolds posted his frustration that many conservatives were slow to turn on Chick-fil-A after the news broke about how Chick-fil-A was putting a knife in the back of the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I was one of the slow ones; I have seen conservatives, many times led by NeverTrump Quislings, rush to judgement to condemn other conservatives. As a conservative, one of my traits is ‘look before you leap.’

Now additional information is available, and I am fully on board with Robert McR.

Chick-fil-A is not to be boycotted just for the way they have flipped on legions of loyal customers who were fiercely supportive on account of the way Chick-fil-A had stood up to Leftist pressure and had resisted the Social Justice anti-Christian culture.  In addition to that, Chick-fil-A has rolled over; they negotiated with terrorists and paid extortion money to agents of the Enemy.

Continue reading “Boycott Chick-fil-A”

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