Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On a personal note...

A new decade begins in just over 28 hours from the time I'm writing this. If I were to summarize my personal experiences of the past 10 years in a single word, it would be: shock. And that's all I care to offer on the subject.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Just for the record

I saw "The Hangover" for the first time the other night and found it to be the most overrated movie since "The Royal Tenenbaums." And apparently I'm the only one who feels this way because everyone else seems to think it's the funniest flick they've watched in years. Either way, watch at your own risk because there's more male nudity than anyone (in their right mind) could ever want to see.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday's Quote: The extra mile

The Associated Press did a story last Sunday about the Boy Scouts of America. Having trained an estimated 112 million in the virtues of God and country over the past 100 years, the BSA is currently at a crossroads with declining membership (that still tops 2.8 million) and demands from numerous pressure groups to include atheists and homosexuals.

Because this bastion of Americana promotes some of the attributes of what makes our nation great, I thought a quote from a former member of the BSA board of directors would be in order...

"Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work."
-- William Arthur Ward (1921-1994), Christian author and longtime columnist of
Pertinent Proverbs

Friday, December 25, 2009

What part of CHRISTmas do you not understand?

I could bloviate about those who seek to eliminate any trace of Christianity -- or at least, the authentic criterion thereof -- from the national landscape, just as I could reference any number of acts committed by the secular Left in the name of "separation of church and state" as if the phrase was pulled from the Constitution itself. But I will resist.

I could foil the pugilist with a comprehensive assessment, almost pretentious in length, regarding "separation of church..." (among other things) from Supreme Court decisions that were taken from their originally intended context to endorse a "progressive" disposition that concedes to practically anything but Christendom. Yet I will abstain.

Eschatology of the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant creeds warn the Believer about agreeable-sounding pontificators who employ abstract reasoning fused with arguments that take aim (in the seemingly nicest possible way) at the very axioms they hold most sacred; a ploy most commonly achieved by admonishing the born-again, yet inattentive adherent to yield to every outlandish form of pluralism for the sake, and in the name of, tolerance.

Even more, far too many Christians have become more consumed with what's "cool" instead of keeping their focus upon what is right (something to which I can truly relate), essentially abandoning the substance of their beliefs -- and thus, depreciating the sacrifices made by those who came before us -- because they became fearful of false characterizations by a faction that unabashedly hates the Truth for which we are called to give our lives if necessary.

I'm beating this war drum because of a slowly growing entente that abates the less passionate into submission with half-truths, platitudes, and double standards while laboring to dilute, or redefine, our long-established values that are almost entirely based upon the Holy Scriptures. And thus it may not be much longer before opposing the coalition of enlightened, altruistic, open-minded sojourners of egalitarianism will be deemed a "hate crime."

So say Merry Christmas while you still can. The clock is ticking.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guilty Pleasures: Memphis, Tennessee

I love you, and I don't love you. You're good for me, but you drain me. You're home, and you are foreign. But I just can't quit you. Not yet.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday's Quote: The South

I promised myself that I would keep defensive admonitions on the Southland's behalf to a minimum when I recommitted to this blog (seven weeks ago today, as a matter of fact). Although yesterday's post was the first since I re-upped, I find myself drawn to the topic once more in light of a few stories that were recently brought to my attention.

"They have some qualities which I cannot even presume to claim in an equal degree for the people among whom I, myself, dwell. They have an aptness for command which makes the Southern gentleman, wherever he goes, not a peer only, but a prince. They have a love for home; they have, the best of them, and the most of them, inherited from the great race from which they come, the sense of duty and the instinct of honor as no other people on the face of the earth."
-- Senator George F. Hoar (R-Massachusetts) on the floor of the U.S. Senate; February 23, 1889

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The root of Southern hospitality

I've heard it questioned many times: What's the big deal about the South? Why is it Southern hospitality? Aren't people from other regions nice, too?

The short answer only adds to the fuel of this rather patronizing debate, especially in regard to those who view the South as a mere breeding ground for the most undesirable members of our ever changing society.

But then a more comprehensive rebuttal evokes accusations of abiding by a "neo-Confederate fantasy" rife with Lost Cause folklore that's ordinarily commingled with charges of endorsing every imaginable position of hate.

So what's a Southern boy to do?

Yours truly all but looks for a fight when it comes to defending my defenders -- warts and all -- especially in this age of political correctness and social hypersensitivity. And why? Because it's necessary. Further, I do not concern myself with falsified labels from those who are filled with more animus than I could ever be. Call me a bigot, or anything of the sort, and I'll laugh in your face.

Although I've deviated from what was originally intended to be written, I must confess that going on a tangent about the War Between the States is always tempting because the fact that such an event actually occurred lies at the very heart of my treatise.

To the point, there is something about this thing called "Southern hospitality." Cynics can say what they want, but there is a shared predilection among the descendants of the former Confederate nation that appears to be lacking among the other regions of our blessed Republic.

Take, for instance, a recent piece from managing editor Jeanna Bryner. Entitled "Happiest U.S. States Pinned Down," Bryner referenced a study that listed the 50 States (and the District of Columbia) in order of their well-being.

And coming in at #1 is, surprisingly enough, Louisiana. In fact there were six Southern States -- Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina and Alabama included -- in the top 10, and no portion of the Southern Commonwealth finished lower than 28th.

Imagine that -- the most backwards and financially deficient States with the highest cholesterol levels and the lowest SAT scores are generally happier, and thus, more hospitable than their affluent rivals. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The epitome of "extravagantly pretentious and overexposed"

A few days ago I wrote somewhat disparagingly about my girl Kim Kardashian, referring to her as the above-subject title indicates. The picture to the right, however, is a before-and-after of a woman who, despite their similarities, is tragically becoming the anti-Kim in every way.

You probably know about Amy Winehouse (for all the wrong reasons), even if you're not familiar with her retro brand of music. However difficult it is to believe that the picture you undoubtedly stared at for more than a few moments is the same person, this human bong receptacle serves as a prime example -- perhaps warning is the more proper term -- of why one is better off avoiding alcohol and drugs altogether.

And why that statement still requires such an overabundance of repetition after all these years is beyond me.

Calamitous eccentricities notwithstanding, Winehouse is both an iconoclast and a walking contradiction. According to a recent piece on, her backstage demands for a single performance include two bottles of red wine, a case of Lager, a bottle of vodka, champagne and Courvoisier, 40 Marlboro cigarettes, and amazingly enough, access to the nearest gym.

"They tried to make me go to rehab, I said 'No, no, no.'"

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just Thinking Out Loud: Heisman screw job

I need to make sure that I'm clear on this issue: The running back that led the nation in yards and touchdowns with 10 games over the century mark, including three games of at least 200 yards, and who led his school to its first winning season in eight years despite a freshman quarterback and an overall lack of talent and depth, lost the Heisman Trophy to another running back who, despite being surrounded by a slew of NFL prospects, was twice held to less than three yards per carry.
During any other time, such an oversight might seem strange.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday's Quote: Against overwhelming odds

I was enjoying a nice Sunday afternoon drive through Collierville -- one of my favorite things to do -- when I began pondering a recent blog post about war, which in turn reminded me of something I read a few days ago in regard to the heroic exploits of Charles Martel.

Greatly outnumbered, Martel led the Carolingian Franks to victories over the invading Umayyad Caliphate amid the Islamic Expansion Era -- most notably at the Battle of Tours (or Poitiers) in central France -- which prevented Muslim forces from advancing further into Europe, likely saving Christendom at that point in history from the same aggressor that America (among others) are essentially facing today.

Though some modern scholars now question the importance of Martel's defeat of Europe's would-be conquerors -- courageously creating elements of doubt over 1,200 years after the fact -- it's clear that the Italian poet Dante Alighieri had numerous reasons to write of Martel as one of the "Defenders of the Faith," not the least of which centered upon his bravery in the face of a hostile and potentially vanquishing adversary.

This brings me to the selected quote, which I pulled from the 2006 movie, 300. Reportedly "90% accurate," the story of Spartan King Leonidas and his men standing in defense of their people and their land speaks of a kind of valor that scarcely exists any longer, which was undoubtedly epitomized by Martel and his men some 1,200 years after the Battle of Thermopylae.

Although this particular exchange is largely fictional, there is no question that Leonidas's resistance to even the most seemingly generous peace offering was key to the survival of his people. Instead of saving himself, as most would have, the Spartan King stood his ground:

Leonidas: Let me guess. You must be, Xerxes?

Xerxes: Come Leonidas, let us reason together. It would be a regrettable waste, it would be nothing short of madness, were you, brave King, and your valiant troops to perish all because of a simple misunderstanding. There is much our cultures could share.

Leonidas: Oh, haven't you noticed? We've been sharing our culture with you all morning.

Xerxes: Yours is a fascinating tribe. Even now, you are defiant in the face of annihilation and the presence of a god. It isn't wise to stand against me, Leonidas. Imagine what horrible fate awaits my enemies when I would gladly kill any of my own men for victory.

Leonidas: And I would die for any one of mine.

Xerxes: You Greeks take great pride in your logic. I suggest you employ it. Consider the beautiful land you so vigorously defend. Picture it reduced to ash at my whim. Consider the fate of your women.

Leonidas: Clearly you don't know our women. I might as well have marched them up here, judging by what I've seen. You have many slaves, Xerxes, but few warriors. It won't be long before they fear my spears more than your whip.

Xerxes: It is not the lash they fear. It is my divine power. But I am a generous god. I can make you rich beyond measure. I will make you warlord over all Greece. You will carry my battle standard to the heart of Europa. Your Athenian rivals will kneel at your feet if you will but kneel at mine.

Leonidas: You are as generous as you are divine, O King of Kings. Such an offer only a madman would refuse. But the, uh, the idea of kneeling, it's... You see, slaughtering all those men of yours has, uh, well, it's left a nasty cramp in my leg, so kneeling will be hard for me.

Xerxes: There will be no glory in your sacrifice. I will erase even the memory of Sparta from the histories. Every piece of Greek parchment shall be burned, and every Greek historian and every scribe shall have their eyes put out and their tongues cut from their mouths. Why, uttering the very name of Sparta or Leonidas will be punishable by death. The world will never know you existed at all!

Leonidas: The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle is over, that even a god-king can bleed.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Guilty Pleasures: Kim Kardashian

I don't care about your promiscuity, or that you're extravagantly pretentious and overexposed. I'd marry you tomorrow.

Of course, I would have the nuptials annulled a few days later, and getting checked for some insidious disease that you might've transmitted to me is a given. But still...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tebow, religion, and the Heisman

It's odd -- we lionize our athletic paragons for the slightest feat of accomplishment, but we are just as likely to deride these men for even attempting to hold themselves to a "higher standard," which is possibly why we celebrate their mistakes as much as their achievements.

While the number of athletes who are known for endorsing various measures of ethics and morality is seemingly endless, perhaps none other is noted for the specific demonstrations of his Faith as University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

You almost certainly know who this guy is, even if you don't follow college football, and that's somewhat difficult for a lifelong fan of the University of Tennessee to admit (because he always beats us). But however much I scorn Tebow on game day, I laud him every bit as much for his consistent and effortless Christian witness, which is tragically lacking in most of those who claim redemption in the Cross.

Although Tebow caught some flack from ESPN Radio's Freddie Coleman and Sirius XM's Scott Ferrall (among others) after last Saturday's 32-13 loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference title game
when comparisons were drawn to the Bible verse written on his eye black {John 16:33 in this case} and the loss itself -- implying "Where was God? -- one might've forgotten what Tebow has done in his four years at the University of Florida.

So here's a refresher:

Tim Tebow has won three Southeastern Conference division titles, two conference championships, and two BCS national championships. A former Associated Press Player of the Year, Tebow is also a two-time All-American and has been selected All-Southeastern Conference three times, along with being honored as both the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and its Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Additionally, Timothy Richard Tebow is a recipient of the Maxwell Award (twice), the O'Brien Award, the Harley Award, the Sullivan Award, the Manning Award, the Campbell Trophy, and of course, he was the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. He's also the first quarterback to both pass and rush for at least 20 touchdowns in a single season.

Tebow's on-field accomplishments do not necessarily legitimize Christendom (I'm an adherent myself), but nobody ever says "Where was God?" when a Believer is victorious. The antagonist only says such a thing if a Christian happens to lose, as if one is "born again" just to win everything. And no position of deliberate skepticism could be more superficial.

With the Heisman Trophy -- the most prestigious award in college football -- about to be given, and with the field of potential recipients still wide open, your humble correspondent has compiled his very own list in the name of clarity. Take a gander...

Winner: Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford) -- 311 rushes, 1,736 yards, 26 TDs
-- Not only did Gerhart lead the nation in both rushing yards and touchdowns, but he's also the predominant force behind Stanford's first winning season in eight years.

2. C.J. Spiller (RB/KR/PR, Clemson) -- 201 rushes, 1,145 yards, 11 TDs; 34 receptions, 436 yards, 3 TDs; 918 kick/punt return yards, 5 TDs
-- The one I chose to replace Tim Tebow on the official list of nominees who will be in New York City on Saturday night, Spiller's triple threat talent as runner, receiver, and return specialist is the biggest reason for Clemson's spot the ACC title game.

3. Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama) -- 249 rushes, 1,542 yards, 15 TDs; 30 receptions, 322 yards, 3 TDs
-- The primary offensive catalyst for the top ranked and SEC champion Crimson Tide, Ingram would have been higher on the list had both Arkansas and Auburn not held him to under three yards per carry.

4. Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska) -- 82 tackles, 12 QB sacks
-- Having managed statistics in a single season that most defensive tackles would love to have in two seasons combined, he also made life miserable in the Big 12 title game for the guy I placed fifth.

5. Daniel "Colt" McCoy (QB, Texas) -- 330 completions, 70.5 completion %, 3,512 yards, 30 total TDs
-- A sentimental favorite, last year's runner-up will probably rank higher in the final tally by voters who will take his career stats into account (over 14,000 total yards and 130+ combined touchdowns) more than they should.

Honorable Mention
(ranked #6-15)
Case Keenum (QB, Houston) -- 468 completions, 71.0 completion %, 5,449 yards, 47 total TDs

Jacquizz Rodgers (RB, Oregon State) -- 255 rushes, 1,377 yards, 20 TDs; 74 receptions, 509 yards, 1 TD

Tim Tebow (QB, Florida) -- 182 completions, 65.2 completion %, 3,272 total yards, 31 total TDs

Greg Jones (LB, Michigan State) -- 140 tackles, 9 QB sacks

Kellen Moore (QB, Boise State) -- 254 completions, 64.8 completion %, 3,325 yards, 39 TDs

Denario Alexander (WR, Missouri) -- 107 receptions, 1,644 yards, 13 TDs

Jimmy Clausen (QB, Notre Dame) -- 289 completions, 68.0 completion %, 3,722 yards, 31 total TDs

Von Miller (DE, Texas A&M) -- 43 tackles, 17 QB sacks

Ryan Williams (RB, Virginia Tech) -- 268 rushes, 1,538 yards, 19 TDs

Rahim Moore (S, UCLA) -- 43 tackles, 9 INTs

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday's Quote: War

I have a cousin who joined the Marines four years ago. A soldier in the 2nd Division {3rd Battalion, 6th Regiment: "Devil Dogs"}, Griff did two tours in Iraq and would have been deployed a third time, probably to Afghanistan, had he initially enlisted just four days earlier.

Knowing that a mere 96 hours was the difference between a return to civilian life and being sent into the "Graveyard of Empires"
must be tremendously relieving for my cousin, who returned home for good just 10 days ago.

I thought recently about the Brigadier General who told my aunt and uncle (Griff's parents) that American forces were fighting a "politically correct war," and that our military possessed the capacity to "clean house" if our warriors of the ground, sea, and air were fully allowed to take matters to such a hardcore level.

It's a confounding shame to realize that our military personnel are blocked from doing all that they're trained to do because of political correctness; that our troops are stymied by those who are more concerned about the welfare of those who hate us than those who defend us is yet another mind-numbing commentary on our present state of affairs.

As a result, and in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day (tomorrow), I reached back to a voice from the past -- among the most politically incorrect of all-time -- to perhaps re-establish a sense of valor in the face of hypersensitivity, and on behalf of those who personify our core qualities as well as anyone:

"When we land against the enemy, do not forget to hit him and hit him hard. When we meet the enemy, we will kill him. We will show him no mercy. He has killed thousands of your comrades and he must die. If your company officers in leading your men against the enemy find him shooting at you and when you get within two hundred yards and him and he wishes to surrender -- oh no! That bastard will die."
-- Lt. General George S. Patton, United States Army, prior to the July 9, 1943 invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) during World War II. Initially outnumbered by over 100,000 soldiers, the American, British and Canadian forces overcame their Axis rivals in just six weeks.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Before Sunrise

I awoke the other day, earlier than usual, after a long night of getting beat down at the FedEx World Hub (every night is a beating). Unable to return to a state of much-needed slumber, I flipped through an assortment of about 300 stations until I found myself drawn to the familiarity of a movie I couldn't quite recall. A few minutes of giving it a chance to entertain me, however, jogged my memory enough to remember this flick as one I had originally shunned.

I dredged through a few minutes of "Before Sunrise" at least 10 years ago before asking the girl I was with to change the channel. I was bored, and perhaps a bit confused, by the cerebral dialog mixed with a minimalist plot that appeared to beg for something (like gratuitous explosions) to break the monotony of watching two people talk about what seemed to be the usual Gen X crap.

Having given this little piece of cinema another go at the ripe old age of 33, I now understand its appeal. Ornamented by two wandering souls who seem destined to live happily ever after despite being separated by an ocean and six time zones, the movie depicts a deeply personal, almost spiritual, intercourse that everyone fantasizes about, but rarely get to experience for themselves.

The movie is worth your time if you get a chance.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just Thinking Out Loud: Tiger

Only in America is it not enough to be married to a Swedish bikini model.  Way to go, Eldrick.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Secular quotes from Scripture

The Associated Press recently did a piece* on a book called "Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know." Authored by Case Western Reserve University Religion professor Timothy Beal, his work delves into, among other things, common references to biblical stories.

For example, the term "All things to all people" comes from 1 Corinthians. "Cast the first stone" and "Doubting Thomas" are found in the New Testament book of John. "Forbidden fruit" was originally cited in Genesis. "Salt of the earth" is written in the Gospel according to Matthew, "Woe is me" was used in the Old Testament book of Job, and "Writing on the wall" is first mentioned in Daniel.

Most Christians knew these phrases already, but the unbeliever is likely vexed to find that they've been quoting Scripture for years.

* "Quote sound familiar? It might be Scripture" by Thomas J. Sheeran. Associated Press; November 29, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday's Quote: Modern Liberalism defined

"A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical Liberal minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous Left-stream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."
-- Source Unknown (but I wish I knew)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Compare and contrast

Three Navy SEALs -- Petty Officers Julio Huertas, Jonathan Keefe, and Matthew McCabe -- are facing a courts-martial for their roles in giving noted Islamic militant Ahmed Hisham Abed a bloody lip. More specifically, one SEAL is accused of punching Abed in the face after he was taken into custody, and all three are accused of making false statements to cover it up.

Abed himself was wanted by American-led forces (some 40 nations in all) for orchestrating an ambush that killed four Blackwater agents five years ago while transporting supplies for a catering company. In an act that made international headlines, each security operative was burned and dragged through the streets of Fallujah before their lifeless bodies were hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River. The picture above might ring a bell.

In summary, three of our nation's elite defenders are facing a potentially life-altering trial for the cardinal sin of smacking an enemy combatant -- having declined a less stringent "Captain's Mast," they will be arraigned in military court on December 7 -- while the militant himself, it seems, will be treated as a victim.

There's so much to say about this, and yet it's difficult to find the right words.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation (220 years ago today)

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just Thinking Out Loud: Adam Lambert

Girlfriend, please.  Try to take it down a notch. Your homoerotic stunts at the AMAs were beyond unnecessary.  And letup on the makeup while you're at it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wanna know what Heaven is like?

Buy some Boiled Custard -- not Egg Nog or any variant of the sort.

Go to Kroger and purchase their Grade A brand of Boiled Custard. Let it sit in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Then kick back and enjoy. You'll thank me later.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday's Quote: Some hardcore truth

"It just seems like we're making a lot of mistakes on this whole calling everybody racist. Everybody's calling everybody morons and nuts. We're becoming more juvenile as a nation. The guys who won World War II and that whole generation have disappeared, and now we have a bunch of teenage twits."
-- Clint Eastwood, from the most recent issue of GQ

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just Thinking Out Loud: The Hef

Someone should encourage this creepy octogenarian to stop dancing.  He's not very good at it.  Like grandma used to say, there's no fool like an old fool.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bending over (backwards, or otherwise)

Barack Obama is currently visiting the Asian continent with the intention of convincing the various regimes to continue buying our debt. And for good reason. According to the London Telegraph, America is about $2 trillion in the hole to China alone.

That's $2,000,000,000,000. The amount may as well be a "sideways eight."

Although one could ponder the extensive talking points of Obama's Far East tour, it is perhaps our President's submissive bow to Japan's Emperor Akihito -- a gesture which makes his obeisance to Saudi King Abdullah last April look almost exultant -- that has proven every bit as intriguing.

Don't let the picture fool you. Viewpoints from other shots make it seem as if Obama was about to grab his own ankles. Even a blog for the Los Angeles Times contrasted the difference between President Obama's henpecked bows and the manner in which previous representatives such as Vice President Dick Cheney and General Douglas MacArthur respected Japanese dignitaries without embarrassing the United States.

George Bush might have set the standard for presidential gaffes, but our current Commander-in-Chief has also made his share in just 10 months. Whether it was Obama's flub of the presidential oath, knocking his dome on the entrance to Marine One, his various misadventures with the all-important teleprompter, or the Special Olympics blast about his own bowling game, it seems this most recent faux pas smacks of something else -- as if Obama is somehow apologizing for America yet again.

According to NPR, the President recovered somewhat by hedging a reporter's question about the atomic bomb America dropped on Hiroshima that helped to end World War II. Obama did the right thing by not taking her bait, but I wish he would have responded with a redirect of sorts, something like...

"Was Japan right for siding with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy? What about Pearl Harbor, sweetheart? You gonna blame us for that one, too?"

At least he didn't bend over.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday's Quote: Liberalism & Socialism comingled

"The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program until one day America will be a Socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened."
-- Norman M. Thomas (1884-1968), noted pacifist, Princeton alumnus, ordained Presbyterian minister, co-founder of what would become the ACLU, and six-time Presidential nominee for the Socialist Party of America

Friday, November 13, 2009

The double social standard (for lack of a better way of putting it)

Carrie Prejean has endured a nearly unprecedented barrage of criticism for not endorsing same-sex marriage during the Miss USA pageant last April. Having finished first runner-up in Miss USA, she was dethroned by Miss California officials two months later for "continued breach of contract." Additionally the ambiguous reason behind her de-crowning was largely the end result of "celebrity blogger" Perez Hilton's smear campaign.

Hilton (born Mario Lavandeira) is the one responsible for asking Prejean the now famous question about gay marriage during the Miss USA pageant. His militant disapproval of her reply led him to make a variety of disparaging claims against Prejean soon after, which included referring to her as a "dumb bitch" -- and all because she offered the same defense for traditional marriage as the Liberal Democrat who now occupies The White House.
It should be noted that Perez Hilton released his first song in September 2008, a single about Gonorrhea called "The Clap."  During any other time, this fact alone would be enough to nullify any perspective he would ever attempt to impose upon others.
This controversy is no different from the mass of insults Sarah Palin continues to tolerate a full year after Barack Obama's election became official. As if her electoral defeat wasn't enough for Palin's detractors, it seems the Left wanted to make an example of her, just as they have Carrie Prejean. And why? Because Palin and Prejean (among others) dare to endorse a standard found only in the Holiest of all books even despite their past imperfections.
They are talented, accomplished, poised under intense scrutiny, honest and imperfect, and not filled with the rage that consumes their Left Wing counterparts -- a fact conveniently overlooked by those who find it easier to dismiss non-"Progressives" as hypocritically divisive hate-mongers.
Without question, my girl Carrie -- who turned down $140,000 to pose for Playboy -- has made a few errors in judgment that have been well-documented by those who celebrate those shortcomings. Yet Conservatives are evidently more capable of recognizing the difference between making mistakes and cultivating mistakes, and that will always lead them down a path separate from political correctness and social hypersensitivity.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Howard Stern

The self-proclaimed "King of All Media" went on a rant earlier today that demanded a rebuttal. Here's the e-mail I sent to the show moments ago:

What makes Howard think that the irrational rantings of a childish, foul-mouth pervert such as himself hold any validity whatsoever?

"Crazy" and "mentally ill" by his own repeated admission, what causes Stern to believe that the unmitigated hate he spews about Christianity -- most recently about Atheist-turned-Believer Kirk Cameron -- are rooted in anything but his own narrow-minded prejudice?

More than all other religions combined, the foundational principles rooted exclusively in the Holy Bible are what make this country the envy of the entire planet, a powerhouse upon which God's fingerprints are indelibly self-evident.

In fact the reason that Stern has a right to express his unfortunate and inaccurate bias is because our Christian forefathers made provisions to allow it, although I highly doubt the First Amendment was ever intended to permit deviants to speak endless loads of verbal pornography.

So show some respect Howard. This is still very much a Christian nation, and that is to your benefit because most other countries, which truly force their belief system down your throat, would never allow for the soapbox that has afforded you so much.


I've been back into the blog thing for less than two weeks, and I already feel the need to switch things up a bit. It should be done by tomorrow.

Monday, November 9, 2009

On the brink

Five more banks collapsed recently, bringing the total to an astonishing 120 for the year. The numbers amaze even a hardened bank veteran such as myself. Now that unemployment has topped 10% for the first time in a quarter-century, I thought a politically incorrect quote from one of America's all-time greats would be in order:

"History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster."
-- General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces during World War II

No diatribe is necessary. That says it all.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Smashmouth Saturday

I spent much of today watching grown men hit each other. Having loved this time of year all my life for the pleasant weather and wall-to-wall football, I can now kick back with a sense of gratitude for the warrior culture that resonates throughout our great society.

College football is the sport I follow most, so much that I didn't settle on an undisputed favorite until my mid-20s, eventually giving my allegiance to Tennessee (with Ole Miss coming in a close second). Watching my Volunteers improve each week has become reassuring, especially now that the oft-maligned Jonathan "Straight Outta" Crompton appears more comfortable than ever behind center.

An occasional cheer for the underdog to which I have no tangible affiliation is inevitable when one closely follows a sport that has been an ambiance-laden part of the national landscape for about 140 years. Seeing mid-majors like Houston, Cincinnati and Texas Christian continue their respective runs for a BCS bowl game is both satisfying and increasingly typical of everything fans have come to expect from the highest level of college football.

Heck I was downright jubilant when Navy beat Notre Dame for the second straight year after the Midshipmen had previously suffered through a record-setting 43 consecutive defeats to the Irish, but it was also disappointing somehow to see Iowa's 13-game win streak (dating back to last season) come to an end against a bottom dweller like Northwestern, thanks in no small part to quarterback Rick Stanzi's ankle injury.

Then there's Boise State -- the team nobody wants to play. Having established itself as a legitimate national contender over the better part of this decade, Boise St. Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier has thrown down the gauntlet and made, perhaps by necessity, an almost unheard of offer:

BSU will play at the home field of any big name school at the start of the 2011 season, and their opponent will not have to return the favor by playing in Idaho the next year. However intriguing, not a single big time school has stepped up. Not even one.

For such a rarity, a dominant school located in a remote region better known for potatoes than pigskin, this is the kind of story that could only come from college football. And that's why we love it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

This is why we fight

By now everyone has heard about the massacre at Fort Hood in east-central Texas -- the largest American military base in the world -- that resulted in 13 deaths and at least 30 injured, including a civilian police officer named Kimberly Munley who is chiefly responsible for taking the assailant down.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan,
an Army psychiatrist and Muslim of Palestinian descent, yelled "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is great") as he entered the Solider Readiness Center on September 5 at approximately 1:30 p.m. CST and opened fire on a group of unarmed soldiers who were present to receive their compulsory pre-/post-deployment medical treatment.

Having grabbed the attention of federal authorities some six months prior because of Internet postings he reportedly made about the virtue of Islamic suicide bombings throughout the world, it is also believed that Hasan, a conscientious objector to America's "Global War on Terror," was less than pleased about his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

It's easy for me to sit in the comfort of my home and say "Let's go to war and kick some terrorist tail!" when I'm not saddled with the responsibility of standing a post with my finger on the trigger, but Douglas MacArthur wasn't kidding when he warned that we should be more concerned about the insidious forces that work from within our country than those who operate outside of it.

The enemy has brought this fight to our doorstep repeatedly and demands a response. To understand the extremist mentality further -- as if the truth isn't already obvious to those who have simply chosen to see it -- check out the website I've included at the bottom. I assure you, it will tell you a lot more about what we are facing in the most vivid possible detail.
("List of Islamic Terror Attacks
For the Past 2 Months")

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Damn Yankees

The Evil Empire won its record-setting 27th Fall Classic last night (it's not really a "World Series," a term used since the 19th century). I'm no fan of the Bronx Bombers, obviously, and I have delighted in telling anyone who would listen that the Pinstripers were evidence of how team chemistry can't be bought -- $200 million payroll and all.

While the Yanks finally proved me wrong, thus ending my nine year streak of reveling in their defeat, I pout mostly over George Steinbrenner's success. Although he no longer oversees the day-to-day operations -- leaving the job to his biological proxy, Hank -- "The Boss" is as well-known for his pursuit of costly free agents as he is for deriding them.

Steinbrenner shelled out contracts worth more than $420 million combined to CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira last off-season, according to a recent piece on Sports. That's in addition to the $275 million the Yankees handed Alex Rodriguez the year before, not to mention the $189 million Derek Jeter got after the Yanks won their previous championship nine years ago.

Instead of instituting a legitimate salary cap in the name of competitive balance like every other major sport in America, Commissioner Bud Selig opted to focus on revenue sharing (pro sports socialism), which he justified by concurrently implementing a luxury tax against teams with the deepest pockets -- like the Yankees -- whose combined salaries often exceed the threshold established by MLB's collective bargaining agreement.

In other words, Steinbrenner & Co. owe some debt of gratitude to the other franchise owners who essentially allow them to spend astronomical sums of money without retribution (as long as they stay out of the red).

Despite everything, it's Steinbrenner's characteristic flair, for lack of a better way of describing it, that inspires the odium felt by fans such as myself. Steinbrenner fired 10 different general managers before almost miraculously settling on Brian Cashman over 10 years ago. Steinbrenner has also changed managers an unbelievable 20 times in his colorful history, including the firing of Billy Martin on five separate occasions.

Steinbrenner even called a press conference after the Yanks' Game 3 loss to the Dodgers in the '81 World Series to show off the "injuries" he claimed to have sustained in an elevator fight with a couple of Dodger fans. Steinbrenner's accusations were never corroborated, and the event led some to believe that he made the story up to light a fire under the Yankees.

It didn't work. The Yanks lost the series in six games.

Go ahead and call me a "hater." I acknowledge that the Yanks do whatever it takes to win, and that is commendable to a point. But it doesn't engender the fidelity that will allow them to fully emerge from the shadow of glory days past. Thanks to Steinbrenner, the present-day Yankees have become less a team and more a greedy corporate entity willing to spend in the neighborhood of a quarter-billion dollars -- profit margins be damned -- for a single ring.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back to the 80's

Ralph Macchio, best known for his role in the Karate Kid trilogy, turns 48-years-old today. Under-appreciated for his other roles in semi-classics such as The Outsiders, Crossroads, and even My Cousin Vinny, it's hard to believe that Ralph Macchio is a mere seven years younger than my parents. I suppose this means that he's old, and so am I.

This got me thinking about Back to the Future, another three-part movie franchise from the 80's that played a role in defining my childhood. Here's some trivia about BttF that you may find interesting if you enjoyed the movie as much as I did:

* Michael J. Fox is only ten days younger than Lea Thompson, the actress who plays his mother, and is almost three years older than his on-screen dad, Crispin Glover.

* The school that served as Hill Valley High was Whittier High School in Whittier, CA just outside of Los Angeles. Before filming, the school was better known as Richard Nixon's alma mater.

* When Marty pretends to be Darth Vader ("from the planet Vulcan"), he plays a tape labeled "Van Halen" to scare George out of his sleep. The screeching guitar riffs are from an untitled Eddie Van Halen original written for a movie called The Wild Life (1984), which starred Lea Thompson.

* When Doc Brown first sends Einstein "one minute" into the future, the time elapsed between when the '81 DeLorean DMC-12 disappears and reappears is actually 1 minute 21 seconds, just as the reappearance occurred at 1:21 AM via the Flux Capacitor-required 1.21 jigowatts of electricity.

* The device originally considered for use as the time travel machine was a refrigerator. Director Robert Zemeckis said in an interview that the idea was scrapped because he and Steven Spielberg did not want children to start climbing into refrigerators and getting trapped inside.

* The set for Hill Valley is the same one used for Gremlins (1984). The set for the Courthouse Square was also used for Bruce Almighty (2003), and the clock tower is the same one that is seen in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ripping the Bible

Legendary British actor Sir Ian McKellen confirmed in a recent interview with Details that he tears the page that contains Leviticus 18:22 out of copies of The Bible in his hotel rooms. Openly gay for the past 20 years, McKellen said, "I do, absolutely. I'm not proudly defacing the book, but it's a choice between removing that page and throwing away the whole Bible."

Often pointed out by critics as an example of antiquated dogma, Leviticus 18:22 states, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination." (Leviticus 20:13 records a similar position.) Few realize, however, that this is not the first reference to homosexuality in the Bible.

Amid the mass depravity in Sodom (near the Jordan River in present-day southwest Asia), a group of men approached Lot, the righteous nephew of Abraham, and said in Genesis 19:5, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally."

It is no coincidence that the destruction of Sodom (and Gomorrah) is recorded in the same chapter, just 19 verses later.

The New Testament offers something about the alternative lifestyle as well. Perhaps most potently, Romans 1:26-27 asserts:

"For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due."

Comparable New Testament verses are also found in I Corinthians 6:9, I Timothy 1:10 and Jude 1:7
. Why these are commonly overlooked is anyone's guess, but it most likely has something to do with a prevailing sense of Biblical ignorance.

Fortunately -- and I'm being factitious here -- McKellen didn't rip portions of which he might not approve from the Talmud, Confucius' Analects, the Tao Te Ching, Krishna's Bhagavata Purana, the Hindu Veda and Upanishads, Buddhism's Tripitaka, or the Koran (which also forbids homosexuality).

That, of course, would amount to intolerance.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Mighty Hetfield

I watched some old Metallica concert clips (Seattle '89, San Diego '92) on YouTube earlier today, along with a few new ones. I was once again struck by the force they bring to a live show, which is untouchable among the vast majority of other so-called bands of this era that shun power chords, favor "guy liner," and produce user-friendly songs that reach for mainstream success at the deliberate sacrifice of their musical art.

These bands simply lack balance, and in all fairness Metallica has taken their hardcore fans on a few valley experiences as well (St. Anger, for instance). But through it all James Hetfield has been the heart and soul of Metallica from the very beginning. He is the Warrior-Poet of the Hard Rock/Metal genre' and precious few are worthy to be mentioned in the same breath. None have ever surpassed him, and it's unlikely that anyone ever will.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The punishment doesn't fit the crime (as usual)

The NCAA recently levied a 12-month suspension against Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant for having dinner with former NFL standout Deion Sanders at his home in Texas last summer.

Bryant didn't do himself any favors by lying to officials -- and that shouldn't be overlooked -- but the NCAA has a history of handing down stringent decisions that could incite a Heisman candidate on the verge of pro stardom to offer less than full disclosure in order to stay out of trouble over something so innocuous as breaking bread with a future Hall of Famer.

Bryant could be reinstated shortly, but the 6-foot-2, 220-lb. Oklahoma State junior is NFL bound regardless. Projected as a top 10 selection last year, Bryant's numbers in only three games this season [19.0 yards per catch, 107.7 yards per game] have solidified his standing for the 2010 draft in April. Fortunately Bryant's modest error in judgment will not keep him from reaching the next level.

Monday, October 19, 2009

So my computer crashed...

After four months of mortal kombat with the "Windows Antivirus 2010" virus, it finally crashed my system a week ago today. I'm fortunate enough to have a highly trained friend working on the problem -- something of which he is intimately familiar -- and his prognosis is optimistic. But that's beside the point.

I curse anyone who circulates the vicious trojans, worms, malware and viruses that permeate the Internet. And because going on a longwinded tirade is a waste of cyberspace, I will simply say to anyone reading this post (because I've yet to tell practically anyone about my blog) that I hope for The Eccentric Conservative to be up and running once more in the very near future.

Monday, October 12, 2009

In the Sunday paper...

I've felt for some time that The Commercial Appeal here in Memphis is a reasonably fine newspaper. Sometimes derided for having a "slant" in one direction or another, it seems that Chris Peck (editor) endeavors to avoid the partisanship that governs the majority of other metropolitan newspapers.

Each Sunday in Viewpoint, the CA features a "Think About It" section that offers some tidbits of info that most other papers would likely avoid printing. Here are a few of the most recent that stuck out:

1 in 2: Chances that an American will suffer from a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder in his or her lifetime.

4 in 5: Chances that a U.S. conservative displays an "implicit preference" for white over black people in a psychological study.

3 in 4: Chances that a liberal does.

2 in 5: Chances that an African-American does.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday quotables

Having decided to follow through with this writing thing once more, I've opted to start each week with a set of quotes. And befittingly, I will draw this time from "A Writer's Commonplace Book" by Rosemary Friedman, which I recently completed and suggest without reservation to anyone looking for a penetrating set of reflections from some of the greatest minds of all-time:

"We do not receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us."
-- Marcel Proust [1871-1922], French novelist

"Genius is partly a matter of choice."
-- Colin Wilson [1931-], British writer and philosopher

"Education has produced a vast population able to read, but unable to distinguish what is worth reading."
-- George Macaulay Trevelyan [1876-1962], English historian

"Pay no attention to what the critics say; no statue has ever been put up to a critic."
-- Jean Sibelius [1865-1957], Finnish symphonic composer

"Television is a fantasy which destroys everything."
-- Malcolm Muggeridge [1903-1990], British journalist, author, and satirist

I'm gettin' the band back together

For a blog that got off to a relatively strong start, it fizzled just as quickly. Things happen and they're hardly worth mentioning, but I've decided to resurrect my own little piece of the Internet (after five months of nothing) and make into something worthwhile.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The politics of charisma (pt. 1)

Initially written before last November's election, and revised after Obama's historic win:

Since the day he announced his Presidential intentions in the same place Abraham Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech nearly 150 years earlier, Change, Hope, and Yes We Can became the ubiquitous battle cries of a political movement that penetrated the American ethos and propelled Barack Obama to a level of stardom not seen since JFK. But with a notable list of contentions that would have ripped like a chainsaw through any other campaign, one is compelled to question how Obama remained all but unscathed as his views and affiliations persisted amid a shroud of uncommon perplexity.

The abundance of opinions about the now-former junior Senator from Illinois nullified any chance for a consensus, but the impassioned drive to land this dashing and youthful idealist into The White House has perchance caused many to overlook the fact that Obama is far from the first politico to employ catch-terms such as change and hope into his platform. Accordingly one may also consider how this particular candidate managed to pierce the national consciousness by wielding almost elementary political methods while concurrently billing himself as major shift from the norm.

Having collected a plethora of endorsements before a clear front-runner was established amid the Democratic primaries, the Obama campaign garnered a "cult-like" distinction and quickly reached a momentum that has yet to hit its pinnacle. Still the common observer is most likely vexed to find how many Obama supporters often faltered when asked to pinpoint the precise reason(s) behind their chosen allegiance -- aside, of course, from the requisite echoing of campaign slogans that are as simplistic as they were effective.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Some of the best from our first President

Ten pearls of wisdom from George Washington, a man whom I hold in the highest regard and possibly the greatest of all Americans:

"Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company."

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence."

"Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth."

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."

"If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for war."

"Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God."

"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."

"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."

"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

144 years ago today...

Different sites in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina claim the location of the "last battle" in the War Between the States. Yet this distinction most likely belongs to Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas.

Located at the southernmost point of the Lone Star State, the final exchange between Yankee and Rebel came to an end on May 13, 1865 -- about six weeks after Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia -- when Major John Salmon Ford and the 2nd Texas {Confederate} Cavalry "Mounted Rifles" Regement (among others) battled the 2nd Texas {Union} Cavalry Regiment, the 62nd U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, and the 34th Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

In one of the more ironic twists of the entire War, the Southerners won.

Texan forces formally surrendered on May 26, 1865. General Edmund Kirby Smith ceded his corps in the Trans-Mississippi Department one week later on June 2.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quotes of the Week

"How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it?"
-- Marcus Aurelius (c. 121-180 AD), last of the "Five Good [Roman] Emperors." He was also among the most important Stoic philosophers of his time.

"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."
-- John Barrymore (1882-1942), actor

"If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we'd all be millionaires."
-- Pauline Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren, of the "Dear Abby" advice column

"Democratic nations must try to find ways to starve the terrorist and the hijacker of the oxygen of publicity on which they depend."
-- Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Leader of the British Conservative Party ('75-'90) and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom ('79-'90)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Matters of the heart

I remember certain dates reasonably well. Notable birthdays and anniversaries don’t often escape memory. Such is the case on this particular day, as it marks the observance of my first evening with a golden-haired beauty from the not-so-distant past -- for whom I was 15 minutes late picking her up -- and it is in Sarah’s honor that I write the following post (because I’m largely responsible for dropping the proverbial ball).

Christians often cite the qualities of a "Proverbs 31 woman," but we frequently overlook the concurrent virtues listed in 1 Peter 3:3-4 [NIV], which reads as follows: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight."

Indeed, and purely for the record, there is a certain raven-haired (and recently engaged) beauty for whom I will always be reminded each time the above-mentioned verse is referenced. That special, almost undefinable feeling she so effortlessly sent through me just by entering the room is something I won't experience again anytime soon.

In essence, I never liked this peerless lady (whom I’ve purposely not identified) because she’s pretty; I relished this lovely woman because of her heart. The mere sound of her voice is poetry and I may never encounter her equal. For all the women I've come across over the years, her impact upon me is altogether unmatched.

On an equally personal note, I’ve never been with someone just for the sake of "being" with someone. If it doesn’t mean something, it basically means nothing, and too many people I know are hellbent on finding some unsuspecting soul who might unwittingly take on the sizable responsibility of mending a broken heart and mind.

Thus, because I prefer to mope on my own instead of dumping on someone I might genuinely care for, I endeavor instead to avoid dysfunctional co-dependence. No matter how attractive she is, I just don't have it in me to let her in if she doesn't speak to my heart.

Socially, I have witnessed a tragic and growing overemphasis on external appeal over the years and an almost complete lack of emphasis on the inner kind of beauty that doesn’t evanesce with time. It is one of the most neglected personal issues one can face without fully realizing it.

I'm still learning how to be a man, but if I could offer a suggestion to any young woman who reads this, I implore the following: You can attract a man with your looks, but it’s better to make him love you because of your heart. It is the best kind of beauty you have.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Quote(s) of the Week

In a time of limited and diluted faith, I thought I'd share some words of wisdom:

"Faith is reason grown courageous."
-- Sherwood Eddy (1871-1963), author

"All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired."
-- Martin Luther (1483-1546), German monk, theologian, and father of the Protestant Reformation

"I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs."
-- Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), author, orator, and abolitionist

"Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair."
-- Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936), journalist, author, and philosopher

"Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand."
-- Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), philosopher, theologian, and one of the 33 Doctors of the [Roman Catholic] Church

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Every night, a beating (pt. 2)

Since July 2005 I have been employed by a sizable Memphis-based corporation, the locale of which I’ve distinguished over the years with a variety of disparaging names that are better left unmentioned. However crude and unnecessary the labels, I nevertheless find it odd to be grateful that I merely have a job, even one that takes such an arduous nightly toll as mine.

Like many of my fellow Gen Xers, I know what it is to be unemployed. I once went a full year without an income despite my corporate background and brand spankin’ new college degree, so the frustration of not being a regular tax payer isn’t foreign territory at all.

Additionally, the notion that I would have little trouble finding a suitable employer soon crumbled beneath the impact of a progressively deteriorating economy and the widespread reluctance to hire a late-20-something college grad who was trying to take his career in a direction that differed from his past work experience.

Ironically the occupation I ended up with -- the identity of which I’ve chosen to withhold -- was indeed strikingly different from all other jobs I’ve held in the past. Before I was a suit-and-tie guy. Now, and for nearly four years, I have come to epitomize the blue collar in a place that tests my mettle every night.

I attempt to keep the negative underpinnings of my job from encroaching upon life outside the workplace, and it helps to know that I'm far from the only one who can barely tolerate the thought of having to spend yet another night/morning in a work environment that has been known to incite violence.

Still the quality people I've encountered over the past 45 months (Non-Con/Gate 502, Load Team 7, etc.) have been largely overshadowed by an abundance of individuals who simply don't give a you-know-what. Whether it's inherent or learned, you'd be further shocked to find how some people have such a difficult time walking through an already open door. And that, in a nutshell, is the nature of the beast.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Every night, a beating (pt. 1)

The following is a non-fiction, third person narrative I wrote over three years ago about how I spent my 29th birthday. I'll explain more in part 2.


The long, unfriendly drive was not an unfamiliar one. Adam had taken this beaten path before. "This is not how I envisioned spending my 29th birthday." It was a notion Adam was unable to escape.

The thought of returning yet again to perhaps the most undesirable of locales turned his stomach, for it would require volumes to adequately explain how the vestiges of south Memphis made for many nauseating experiences in the past.

Though he'd seen it before, Adam found himself staring in amazement as he drove by the vacant lot where a once-massive cathedral of capitalism formerly stood. "That used to be the Mall of Memphis," Adam thought as he passed through the not-so-aptly named American Way.

Figures. Raleigh Springs is probably next.

A torrential down-pouring of finality set in as Adam approached Democrat Road. He briefly considered his options, however few they might've been, but relented when he came to grips with the reality that there was no going back.

Perhaps I should have taken the bank's offer after all.

Adam has held corporate-type jobs before, the most notable of which includes a five-year stint with a Memphis-based financial institution that actually sold itself out twice before the name was finally wiped from atop their headquarters.

That's where his brazen distaste of south Memphis originally came to fruition. In fact, Adam still blames middle management for the odium he maintains for The King's old neighborhood. The mere sight of Graceland now onset a plethora of flashbacks that compare to a corporate version of Vietnam, and it moreover supplied the basis for Adam's decision to not accept another bank job.

Surely I can do better.

It was that particular reckoning that played in Adam's head over and over again as he sailed toward a relatively obscure setting that more closely resembled a prison than that of a work environment.

Adam parked his car behind a chainlink fence that was fronted by an apathetic-looking woman who apparently represented the company's finest in security enforcement. It is doubtful she's ever done much of anything but stand in her upright box and wave people forward.

Our hero was instantly struck by the newness of his surroundings. The area was abstruse, not at all confining; yet he couldn't help but to feel almost overwhelmingly besieged by his new set of circumstances.

Time to take my man pill.

Adam forced himself to board a shuttle that was taking the new hires to orientation. He won't soon forget being packed in like cattle with such an over-abundance of morbidly obese individuals.

Adam eventually walked into a spacious room loaded with long faces. It was obvious that no one was especially pleased to be present, but even more noticeable was the sense that everyone was in the same boat regardless of background, circumstances or financial standing.

The evening was filled with what appeared to be mostly vacuous objectives. The long, drawn-out lectures and company produced videos (complete with only the finest in cheesy, synthesized background music) marked the beginning, middle and end of seemingly one trivial talking point after another.

Apparently many of the enigmatic rules and regulations are in place because of past employees who fabricated problems out of non-issues. As a result, no one is allowed to wear clothing that features a logo of any kind because someone might end up offended by it. I kid you not.

Interacting with his fellow new employees offered Adam a sense of just how demented our society is becoming. Though he gravitated towards three guys named Justin, Kyle and Judson -- "The Country Crew" they called themselves -- one could argue that the sizable classroom encapsulated a great deal of what our parents have been warning us about since childhood.

Adam picked out more than a few people who had that unmistakable I've done some hard time in prison look, including one guy who must've been a registered sex offender. Then there was Carl.

Carl was a tall, heavyset black man with cornrows. I say was because a single look at his otherwise effeminate features could bring one to assume that gender reassignment surgery was just around the corner. God help him.

The instructors didn't go so far as to tell the class that the work would be physically demanding, but Adam understood already that he could expect perpetual exhaustion. "So here I am," Adam thought. "Guess college was just a big waste." It was a defeatist perception, but Adam gets that way sometimes. Especially when a permanent escape from south Memphis appears all but hopeless.

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why "eccentric"?

Perhaps your definition of eccentricity differs from mine. I believe John Stuart Mill’s quote atop the page well explains how individuals of the acentric variety intend to present themselves, which varies, I think, from the common attributes of those who are merely tagged with the label.

Those who have known me for a while might suggest that my eccentricity centers more on personality than my perspective on politics, religion, history and social matters of every sort. Yet the prevailing notion of eccentricity among Right Wingers stands on the basis of comprehensive truth even in the face of every imaginable insult from both sides of the mainstream political spectrum. Still there are some things that cannot be overlooked.

Janeane Garofalo, for example, is perhaps the only woman capable of arising in me a sense of militant vehemence. Her pharisaical comments, most recently about the nationwide Tea Parties and the half-million people who attended, are close to unforgivable (which was probably the point):

"There is nothing more instant than seeing a bunch of racist become confused and angry at a speech they're not quite certain what he's saying. It sounds right to them, and then, and then it doesn't make sense, which... let's be very honest about what this is about. It's not about bashing Democrats, its not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston Tea Party was about, they don't know their history at all. This is about hating a Black man in The White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of tea-bagging rednecks. And there is no way around that."
-- Garofalo on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," April 17, 2009

It has to make you wonder what society will be coerced into tolerating in the name of tolerance. And at present, there are few legitimate reflections more eccentric than that.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wow, another blog. How original.

There are many reasons why people like, or feel a need, to blog. However pretentious the subject matter of majority, some actually prove their worth in taking up the cyberspace they inhabit, which presents a personal challenge of relevancy that's only worth undertaking if one has something halfway original to offer. This weblog, after years of tepid consideration, is my effort.

The Eccentric Conservative will hit on politics, current events, religion and personal observations that only possess the capacity to be interesting if I'm completely forthcoming. In light of this, I hope to make it worth your while (and mine). Enjoy.