Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mind Your Manners With Billy Quan

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Robert Frost

Too many people think that Robert Frost's "The Road Less Traveled" is an optimistic poem about a single man striking out boldly in a new direction and thus accomplishing something wonderful.

It's not.

It's a poem about a loser who never did anything special in his life, but, in his autumn years revised his life-story to sound original and purposeful.

Keep this idea in the back of your head while you read a few samples of some of Frost's other great works. Notice the theme. My comments are in italics.

Don't tell me that the following poem has any hint of optimism in it. It's about how everything, no matter how good or beautiful, becomes bad and rotten.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Still think that Frost had a light-hearted view of life? In this next poem he has nature on the verge of destroying humanity.

Once By the Pacific

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last Put out the Light was spoken.

As for this next one, "Good walls make good neighbors," really? Sure, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall," but the narrator continues year after year to mend the wall, even though the pines and the apples pose no threat to each other.

Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

This next poem has the narrator contemplating suicide.

Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Now remember the dominant theme of the above poems before you read this!

The Road Less Traveled

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Let's take a look at this "Road Less Traveled By." According to the narrator, it was "as just as fair"

Shortly after, the scene is described as, "
Though as for that the passing there / Had worn them really about the same"

And just before the narrator chooses his road, he says, "And both that morning equally lay." Equally? Then how is it less traveled by? It's not, and that's the point.

This poem reminds me of when old folks say how they had to walk five--no ten--miles to school, uphill, both ways, in the snow.

It's not about doing something special. It's about doing nothing special at all. It's about how we, out of what Thoreau called "quiet desperation," create the feeling of greatness from nothing.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Beatles Rock

I count The Beatles as one of my favorite bands and as one of the most important musical groups of all time. Here is an evolutionary trip down Beatle Lane. See how they changed and music changed with them.

This first one takes about 15 seconds to start.

This one has been cleverly presented in the World of Warcraft format.

Holy God, there's so much more that I could post, but if you haven't gotten it yet, then you never will (and I pity you if it's so).

Long Time No Blog!

To my loyal readers (both of them), I offer a sincere apology. I have neglected my duty to keep up on things--even if my posts are usually in vain:

A man said to the Universe,
"Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the Universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."
Stephen Crane

Today is Thanksgiving, so I'll give a seasonally appropriate rant.

Ask most Americans and virtually all school children why the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, and they will recite a historically inaccurate myth that has persevered for decades.

Let's just get a few things straight.

The Pilgrims did not nearly starve because they were inept farmers. They suffered in the earliest stages of the colony because they landed at Plymouth in December. Think about it. It doesn't matter how great of a farmer that you are, you can't grow anything in the middle of a Massachusetts winter. Half of Plymouth's original English settlers died not because of laziness or ineptitude, but because life in the seventeenth century was hard; and establishing healthy quarters, in the dead of winter, in a foreign wilderness made it even harder.

The "Thanksgiving" attributed to the Pilgrims occurred the following autumn in 1621. It was a three to four day long feast. Food consisted primarily of venison, wild birds, and probably some fish. Due to the lateness of the season, vegetables would probably have been limited to dried corn.

The Pilgrims almost certainly gave thanks during this feast, but it would not have been thanks to the Indians. The Pilgrims were extremely devout protestants who would have given thanks first--and pretty much exclusively--to God. As for thanking the Indians, you have to think in terms of the Pilgrims themselves. Sure, Samoset and Tisquantum (i.e. Squanto) were valuable friends, but Governor William Bradford referred to him as "a special instrument sent of God."

Think about it. To the Pilgrims, the Indians were uncivilized, unchristian savages. The Pilgrims were so terrified of the Indians that during that first harsh winter, they buried their dead at night so that the Indians would not know how miserably weak the Pilgrims were.

The Pilgrims were the kinds of Protestants who viewed Catholics as evil. At least Catholics believe in God and in the divinity of Jesus. The Wampanoags (the Indians whom the Pilgrims "befriended") didn't even know the scriptures, let alone believe a single word of them.

When the Pilgrims made their first settlement, they did so on the grounds of an abandoned Patuxant village. It seems that smallpox (probably contracted from roving English fishermen) wiped the entire village out. To the Pilgrims, this was God's way of establishing for them a place to build a new Jerusalem.

Don't tell me that the Pilgrims provided an elaborate feast to thank godless savages, some of whom had been completely eradicated (by God, supposedly) in order for the Pilgrims to establish a home, and who were their only to serve the Pilgrims (recall the Bradford quote).

Inviting Massasoit and his braves to this first "Thanksgiving" was merely a diplomatic move. Undoubtedly, the Pilgrims had benefited from Tisquantum and Samoset. However, they sought to maintain friendly relations with Massasoit because the Pilgrims' numbers were simply too meager to afford hostilities.

Of course the Wampanoags accepted the invitation because the same was true for them. It was simply good diplomacy. They'd dealt with the English before, and like Powhatan in Virginia, they knew that it was wiser to be on good terms than poor.

Just ask the Pequot.

So why the elaborate myth? It's simple. Most Americans feel somewhat bad about what happened to the Indians. Without a doubt, the English (and later the Americans) stole the Indians' lands. To make up for this, Americans have created a "lost cause" myth--similar to how Gone With the Wind portrays the antebellum South. Perhaps if we celebrate them enough, we can atone for the sins of our fathers.

The other reason that we celebrate Thanksgiving? The federal government made the holiday up (that's right! The Pilgrims did not have an annual feast). Why did the feds make it up? Perhaps the better question is when did the feds make it up, and the answer is during the Great Depression. Our modern Thanksgiving holiday was decreed by FDR so that we could focus on what we had instead of what we didn't have because of poor federal policy.

Oh, and there probably weren't even any turkey's served at the Pilgrims' "Thanksgiving." Turkey's are foul fowl. If you eat them, then you might as well eat garbage. Perhaps on another post I'll tell you why. For now, I'm tired. Robbie's sick and throwing up. Natalie's sick and throwing up. I'm not sick and throwing up, but my Xbox 360 is staring at me from across the room, whispering "Call of Duty 4."

Read these for more interesting notes on Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims. Seriously, these are really interesting.

From Richard J. Maybury: "The Great Thanksgiving Hoax"

From Gary Galles: "Property and the First Thanksgiving"

From Murray Rothbard: "What Really Happened at Plymouth"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Not Up to Date

I haven't blogged lately, and there are reasons.

Reason 1: I have been extremely busy with things less important than deer hunting.

Reason 2: I have been deer hunting.

Reason 3: I have a new game for my XBox360.

Expect more soon, and google Ron Paul--and support Ron Paul. Your freedom depends upon it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm Back!!!!

My computer is back! I am so overwhelmed with joy that I don't even have anything to complain about right now.

Nonetheless, the substance of this post still outweighs the majority of the drab published on Science Guy's blog.

Praise the Lord! His mercy endures forever!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ron Paul on War and Foreign Policy

Lifted from

The war in Iraq was sold to us with false information. The area is more dangerous now than when we entered it. We destroyed a regime hated by our direct enemies, the jihadists, and created thousands of new recruits for them. This war has cost more than 3,000 American lives, thousands of seriously wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars. We must have new leadership in the White House to ensure this never happens again.

Both Jefferson and Washington warned us about entangling ourselves in the affairs of other nations. Today, we have troops in 130 countries. We are spread so thin that we have too few troops defending America. And now, there are new calls for a draft of our young men and women.

We can continue to fund and fight no-win police actions around the globe, or we can refocus on securing America and bring the troops home. No war should ever be fought without a declaration of war voted upon by the Congress, as required by the Constitution.
Under no circumstances should the U.S. again go to war as the result of a resolution that comes from an unelected, foreign body, such as the United Nations.

Too often we give foreign aid and intervene on behalf of governments that are despised. Then, we become despised. Too often we have supported those who turn on us, like the Kosovars who aid Islamic terrorists, or the Afghan jihadists themselves, and their friend Osama bin Laden. We armed and trained them, and now we’re paying the price.

At the same time, we must not isolate ourselves. The generosity of the American people has been felt around the globe. Many have thanked God for it, in many languages. Let us have a strong America, conducting open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.

Ron Paul on Privacy and Personal Liberty

Lifted from

The biggest threat to your privacy is the government. We must drastically limit the ability of government to collect and store data regarding citizens’ personal matters.
We must stop the move toward a national ID card system. All states are preparing to issue new driver’s licenses embedded with “standard identifier” data — a national ID. A national ID with new tracking technologies means we’re heading into an Orwellian world of no privacy. I voted against the Real ID Act in March of 2005.

To date, the privacy focus has been on identity theft. It was Congress that created this danger by mandating use of the standard identifier (currently your SSN) in the private sector. For example, banks use SSNs as customer account identifiers because the government requires it.

We must also protect medical privacy. Right now, you’re vulnerable. Under so-called “medical privacy protection” rules, insurance companies and other entities have access to your personal medical information.

Financial privacy? Right now depositing $10,000 or more in cash in your local bank account will generate a federally-mandated report to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network at the United States Department of the Treasury.

And then there’s the so-called Patriot Act. As originally proposed, it:
Expanded the federal government's ability to use wiretaps without judicial oversight;
Allowed nationwide search warrants non-specific to any given location, nor subject to any local judicial oversight;

Made it far easier for the government to monitor private internet usage;
Authorized “sneak and peek” warrants enabling federal authorities to search a person’s home, office, or personal property without that person’s knowledge; and

Required libraries and bookstores to turn over records of books read by their patrons.

I have fought this fight for many years. I sponsored a bill to overturn the Patriot Act and have won some victories, but today the threat to your liberty and privacy is very real. We need leadership at the top that will prevent Washington from centralizing power and private data about our lives.

Ron Paul on the Second Amendment

Lifted from

I share our Founders’ belief that in a free society each citizen must have the right to keep and bear arms. They ratified the Second Amendment knowing that this right is the guardian of every other right, and they all would be horrified by the proliferation of unconstitutional legislation that prevents law-abiding Americans from exercising this right.

I have always supported the Second Amendment and these are some of the bills I have introduced in the current Congress to help restore respect for it:

H.R. 1096 includes provisions repealing the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the Federal Firearms License Reform Act of 1993, two invasive and unconstitutional bills.

H.R. 1897 would end the ban on carrying a firearm in the National Park System, restoring Americans’ ability to protect themselves in potentially hazardous situations.

H.R. 3305 would allow pilots and specially assigned law enforcement personnel to carry firearms in order to protect airline passengers, possibly preventing future 9/11-style attacks.

H.R. 1146 would end our membership in the United Nations, protecting us from their attempts to tax our guns or disarm us entirely.

In the past, I introduced legislation to repeal the so-called “assault weapons” ban before its 2004 sunset, and I will oppose any attempts to reinstate it.
I also recently opposed H.R. 2640, which would allow government-appointed psychiatrists to ban U.S. veterans experiencing even mild forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome from ever owning a gun.

You have the right to protect your life, liberty, and property. As President, I will continue to guard the liberties stated in the Second Amendment.
Aristos adds:

One of the first things that the British did to spark the American Revolution was to march on Concord to destroy the local militia's weapons, powder, and ammunition. If the colonists had not possessed their own firearms, then they would have been powerless in the face of the redcoats who meant to deprive them of their liberties.

Ron Paul on Life

Lifted from

Life and Liberty
By Dr. Ron Paul

The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideals of liberty. My professional and legislative record demonstrates my strong commitment to this pro-life principle.

In 40 years of medical practice, I never once considered performing an abortion, nor did I ever find abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman.
In Congress, I have authored legislation that seeks to define life as beginning at conception, HR 1094.

I am also the prime sponsor of HR 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. This is a practical, direct approach to ending federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn.

I have also authored HR 1095, which prevents federal funds to be used for so-called “population control.”

Many talk about being pro-life. I have taken direct action to restore protection for the unborn.
As an OB/GYN doctor, I’ve delivered over 4,000 babies. That experience has made me an unshakable foe of abortion. Many of you may have read my book, Challenge To Liberty, which champions the idea that there cannot be liberty in a society unless the rights of all innocents are protected. Much can be understood about the civility of a society in observing its regard for the dignity of human life.

Aristos adds:

I recently read an article in which Congressman Paul described how he, as a young doctor, unknowingly entered a room in which an abortion had just been performed. He described how the standards of the day were rather primative, and that the doctors merely disposed of the baby in a trash can--and he added that he could tell that the premature baby was trying to cry.

If this addition comes across as a nudge towards your emotions (i.e. ad miseracordiam), I do not deny such an intent. If you can discuss abortion without disgust then you are in the same league as the Nazis who ran the death camps.

And no, I will not take that last comment back. We preach to everyone how awful the holocaust was because of the roughly six million people who needlessly died in it. Well, if numbers is the game, then abortion wins over the holocaust, hands down.

Ron Paul's New Declaration

I lifted this from

A New Declaration
by Ron Paul, Dr. July 3, 2006

On the fourth day of July, in 1776, a small group of men, representing 13 colonies in the far-off Americas, boldly told the most powerful nation on earth that they were free.
They declared, in terms that still are radical today, that all men are created equal, and endowed with certain inalienable rights that government neither grants nor can take away.
In the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers sought to demonstrate to the world that they were rejecting a tyrannical king. They listed the “injuries and usurpations” that contain the philosophical basis for our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

One point of consternation to our founding fathers was that the king had been “imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.” But 230 years later, taxation with representation has not worked out much better.

Indeed, one has to wonder how Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin would react to the current state of affairs. After all, they were outraged by mere import tariffs of a few pennies on the dollar. Today, the average American pays roughly 50 percent of their income in direct and indirect taxes.

In fact, most Texans will not start working for themselves for another week. Texans, like most Americans, work from January until early July just to pay their federal income taxes, state and local taxes, and the enormous costs of regulation. Only about half the year is spent working to pay for food, clothing, shelter, or education.

It is easy to simply blame faceless bureaucrats and politicians for our current state of affairs, and they do bear much of the blame. But blame also rests with those who expect Washington DC to solve every problem under the sun. If the public demanded that Congress abide by the Constitution and pass only constitutional spending bills, politicians would have no choice but to respond.

Everybody seems to agree that government waste is rampant and spending should but cut—but not when it comes to their communities or pet projects. So members of Congress have every incentive to support spending bills and adopt a go-along, get-along attitude. This leads to the famous compromises, but the bill eventually comes due on April 15th.

Our basic problem is that we have lost sight of the simple premise that guided the actions of our founding fathers. That premise? The government that governs least is the government that governs best.

When we cut the size of government, our taxes will fall. When we reduce the power of the federal bureaucracy, the cost of government will plummet. And when we firmly fix our eyes, undistracted, on the principles of liberty, Americans truly will be free. That should be our new declaration.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Current Event

Can the U.S. with its PATRIOT Act and "Free Speech Zones" (along with the history of such tyrants as Abraham Lincoln--who arrested oppositionist newspapermen, suspended habeas corpus, endowed himself with unconstitutional "emergency/war powers," and waged a terrible war that brought death and destruction to the country) really criticize Pakistan's government?

If you think that Pakistan's government is out of line, then you must agree with me that the United States is--and has been since the Civil War--out of line.

The Bush administration cries "Wolf" and we duck and cover and accept whatever he does in our "defense." We only see the evil of government in other lands (e.g. Musharraf's Pakistan).

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Christianity and Such

As the Christmas season approaches (and retailers certainly won't allow us to forget it), we should reflect upon the magnitude of the gift.

Why does God so love us that he would become man and suffer such humiliation and pain?

Why did Jesus think that I was worth it? What have I done to deserve it?

Please comment on which of these versions you prefer and why.

I sometimes think that God requires too much of us in regards to faith. We are asked to believe based upon ancient documents written by rumored authors. A re-reading of C.S. Lewis usually sets me back on the right track.

Of Lewis's many insightful observations, one sticks out at the moment. He writes in reference to those who believe that Christianity specifically and God in general are the product of men. If you took it upon yourself to create a religion filled with rules and a recipe for eternal salvation, would you design such a difficult curriculum? Would you make it so hard to be good? Would you sell your religion to the masses by telling them that they are so bad that they can only be saved by grace?

The beauty of that observation is that it's so obvious. No sane man would simply make up Christianity, and so many people would not follow the preachings of a lunatic. Remember what it took for Saul/Paul to convert.

I still can't get over why Jesus would die for us. That, my friends, is the mystery of faith.

Golf Guy's Comments

Golf Guy's computer has been acting up, and I can sympathize with him. There's a rumor that my "good" computer will be repaired and returned soon, but until then I'm stuck in Windows 98 limbo.

Anyways, Golf Guy's computer freezes up whenever he tries to comment to my posts. He blames the computer, but I think that it's Giuliani/Clinton orchestrated plot. Whatever the case, I will report Golf Guy's comment faithfully.

To my post regarding the actual meaning of the word "liberal," Golf Guy suggests that Democrats are indeed "liberal" with our money. I reply that the same sentiment could apply to Republicans (minus Ron Paul) as well.

However, I also suggest that Golf Guy himself is skewing the connotation of the word. He means that the Democrats spend our money freely (i.e. without control). This is true, but "liberal" is not the proper word. Since our money is our property, and we are free men with natural rights to our property, those people who take our property against our will cannot be liberal. In fact, such people are tyrannical--they deprive others of their freedoms. You are free to enjoy your freedoms. You are not free to inhibit others' freedoms.

He also suggested that Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" is even more haunting than John Lennon's "Imagine."

I'm not sure if "haunting" is an appropriate participle for "Imagine," but I'll give him that Buckley's song is haunting. "Imagine" might be called "hauntingly beautiful," but "Hallelujah" rings of "hauntingly tragic," even mournful.


Friday, November 02, 2007


I love this song, even though I disagree with a few premises. As a Christian, I obviously decline to imagine that there is no heaven. As a philosopher, I decline to imagine no possessions. You deserve what you have, if you haven't acquired it by violating another's rights. The irony is that when Lennon imagined no possessions, he was wealthier than the vast majority of the people in the world. It's like Hef promoting celibacy.

Nonetheless, the song is beautiful and it resonates.

Computer Hell

Holy God Almighty, this computer is so slow and faulty, if it were a man, then I would punch it in the face, kick it in the groin, disembowl it with a spork, and strangle it with its own duodenum.

The rumor is that the motherboard on my good computer (yeah, the good one that always breaks the freak down) is being replaced as we speak, and it will be returned as good as new this weekend.

Holy God Almighty, I pray so.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; the wisdom to know the difference; and the opportunity to destroy all of my enemies.


In this accelerating political climate, I think that it's time that we the thinking people (who you must be, since you read this blog) take back the word "liberal." For too long it has been associated with big-government socialists. A true liberal does not advocate an activist government. A true liberal advocates a limited government--limited to protecting natural rights to life, liberty, and property--if he advocates a government at all.

"Liberal" comes from the Latin "Libere" (to free), hence "liberty" is interchangeable with "freedom."

That said--and there is no use arguing the point since it is irrefutable what the word is supposed to mean--Democrats are not liberal. Yes, it's Democrats who are commonly called liberal, but that's a load of horse manure. Democrats advocate a larger, more powerful, farther-reaching government. Government gains size, power, and reach only at the expense of its people's freedom. Therefore, Democrats are unliberal.

Republicans--with the exception of Ron Paul--are also unliberal. Any politician who does not advocate policies that directly return basic freedoms to the people cannot, by definition of the word, be liberal.

So the next time some idiot says, "Hillary Clinton is too liberal," please correct that person; and the next time some idiot says, "George W. Bush is not liberal enough," tell the person that he is right, but that he's probably too much of an idiot to realize why he's right.

Let's take back the damn word. Let's give today's so-called "liberals" their appropriate sobriquet: tyrants.

For further reading, see Ludwig von Mises's excellent Liberalism: In the Classical Tradition..

Bill of Rights