Have a Very Harry Christmas!

Have a Very Harry Christmas!

It occurred to me recently that my Christmas posts have been very heavily Peanuts.  I love A Charlie Brown Christmas, but I also love Harry Potter.  I was enchanted by my first taste of Harry and his Wizarding World, when I saw the first movie in 2001, and have been an avid fan ever since.  I joined Pottermore when it came out, and worked my way through all the books in the video-game-like part of the site (which was shut down when the kid users made hash of it).  I have remained a member of what is now Wizarding World, gotten sorted into my Hogwarts House (Slytherin), and Ilvermorny House (Horned Serpent), gotten my wand (pine wood with unicorn-hair), and Patronus (a stoat, a relative of the weasel).

One of my favorite parts of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was the time of Harry’s first Christmas at Hogwarts.  Since he had no real family to go home to over the holiday, he stayed at school, along with the Weasley kids and a few others.  One of my very favorite lines in all the books was Harry’s comment when he awoke Christmas morning to find a small pile of presents at the foot of his bed.  Since he really hadn’t been expecting anything at all, and this is what happened:

On Christmas Eve, Harry went to bed looking forward to the next day for the food and the fun, but not expecting any presents at all.  When he woke early next morning, however, the first thing he saw was a small pile of packages at the foot of his bed.

“Happy Christmas,” said Ron sleepily as Harry scrambled out of bed and pulled on his dressing-gown.  ‘You, too’, said Harry. Will you look at this? I’ve got some presents!”  

“What did you expect, turnips?” said Ron, turning to his own pile, which was a lot bigger than Harry’s.

One of his presents was his own wizard chess set (from a cracker at Christmas dinner), and he and Ron would play together.

HarryChess

Harry also received his father’s invisibility cloak, which he just had to try out in the corridor after hours. While under the Cloak, he discovered the room where the Mirror of Erised was stored, and spent hours in front of it, viewing the family he never had.

HarryChristmas

He spent some time alone in the Great Hall, thinking about his family, and what he had missed.  And remembering that Hogwarts was his new family.

In Harry’s Fourth Year, he encounters some of the most harrowing problems he has yet had to face, starting with being chosen by the Goblet of Fire to be Hogwarts’s second champion in the TriWizard Tournament.  But he rises to the occasion.  And then, he is presented with a new challenge-asking a girl to the Yule Ball. It doesn’t go as well as he might have hoped, but the Great Hall was certainly beautiful with all its winter decorations.

Yule Ball

In Harry’s Fifth Year, he is plagued with visions, indicating that Voldemort is inhabiting his mind when his defenses are down. He does, however, make good use of those visions, and hurries to the Ministry of Magic to save Arthur Weasley from Voldemort’s snake, Nagini.  Christmas is spent with the Weasley family, celebrating Mr. Weasley’s recovery.

Weasley-Phoenix

In Harry’s Sixth Year, the social side of being a wizard shows itself again, when Harry is invited to bring a friend to Professor Slughorn’s Christmas party.  It was almost comic, reading about Hermione’s attempts to lose her date, Cormac McLaggen.  But the food items were tasty, and Harry watched as party-crasher Draco Malfoy was taken down a peg or two when Slughorn did not fall all over him with praise about his relatives.

SlughornParty

The first book, and the first movie, remain my favorites.  The kids were so well-cast, and they all did all of the movies, so you could literally watch them all grow up.  Jo Rowling did indeed create a fully-formed Universe, alongside the one we all live in.  I don’t know about you, but I sometimes think about how interesting it would be to be a Witch or Wizard in today’s world.

I hope you all have a Very Harry Christmas!

Did you know that President Trump has the power to destroy the Planet?

Did you know that President Trump has the power to destroy the Planet?

Well, he must have, since David Remnick of The New Yorker has GIVEN him that power.  In an editorial, Mr. Remnick says the the impeachment by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is all about THE FUTURE OF THE PLANET.  Unbeknownst to himself, Remnick has single-handedly handed President Trump power over the entire planet.  Somehow, I don’t think that’s what he meant.

A Judge in London demonstrates: Western Civilization is Doomed

In a news story about the slime treatment accorded to author J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, when she spoke the truth, I found a statement by a judge in the UK that set me back a bit (well, not really a BIT, but a HUGE amount).  Ms. Rowling spoke up in support of a researcher who was fired from her job, because she pointed out that a biological Male cannot become a Female.

That brought out the Long Knives of the “Transgender Mafia”, who took to Twitter to angrily berate Ms. Rowling for being a hateful bigot.  The researcher, Maya Forstater, was fired for using “offensive and exclusionary” language in stating that a male is a male, regardless of his “feelings”, and Rowling’s tweet in support made her also offensive (as in, offending someone).

Here is what the Judge in a “Central London Employment Tribunal” said in approving Ms. Forstater’s removal from her job. [emphasis mine]

“I conclude from … the totality of the evidence, that [Forstater] is absolutist in her view of sex and it is a core component of her belief that she will refer to a person by the sex she considered appropriate even if it violates their dignity and/or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The approach is not worthy of respect in a democratic society,” read the ruling from Judge James Tayler.

Yes, a person should not be permitted to hold her job when she states the simple truth about biology.  Now, didn’t I read somewhere that the end-times might be nigh when “Evil is Good, and Good is Evil”?  This is a JUDGE!  What is civilization coming to, when a judge does not recognize the truth when he hears it.  Now, hurting someone’s feelings is a firing offense, and reality is simply denied.  This is not a good omen for Western Civilization.

 

A Trip to Hillsdale College, 175 years!

The first week of October, Hubby and I flew to Michigan, to attend the Hillsdale College 175th Anniversary Gala, and the dedication of the new Christ Chapel.  The weather was fine on the flight out, and we got to see Mount Rainier from above.

Mt. Rainier

We arrived in Detroit, picked up the rental car, and headed south toward the town of Hillsdale.  It was a beautiful day for a nice drive.  We stayed in the town of Coldwater, about 30 minutes south of Hillsdale, due to the fact that Gala attendees had taken up ALL of the available hotel rooms for miles around!  We learned that there were about 800 people there, and around 600 on a waiting list, which just blew our minds.  The Hillsdale Campus had never entertained that many people at once.

When we arrived in Coldwater, this retail store caught my eye immediately, and I told Hubby that I just had to get a picture.  What with Dick’s Sporting Goods publicizing their decision to stop selling guns, this was an interesting sign in the front windows.

GunsSoldHere

Our Second Amendment-supporting friends got a kick out of this.

The following morning we were rousted out early, since the first program started at 9:30AM. We grabbed a bite to eat before they finished up the breakfast buffet, and headed over to the Searle Auditorium to hear a presentation on the new Hillsdale Master’s Degree in Classical Education.  Hillsdale is doing their best to encourage real education, not the progressive indoctrination most kids get these days in government schools.  This new program will help train the right kind of teachers.  Next, we heard a great presentation on the School of Government.  Would that all politicians could be educated at Hillsdale!

Lunch that day was quite elaborate (like all the meals at the conference), with carefully-plated dishes that looked very artistic. Are we supposed to eat this?

175thDessert

We were fortunate to meet up with our Ricochet friends Susan and Jerry from Florida.  We got to sit with them at all the meals except the last one.  You can get an idea from this picture of how many people there were at this celebration.

LunchWithSusan-Jerry

And that’s only half the room!  There were almost as many tables behind us!  The lunch speaker was Victor Davis Hanson, whom we had met previously on two Hillsdale Cruises. His topic was Nationalism Good and Bad: Lessons from History, and as usual he spoke without notes.  Mr. Hanson is a veritable treasure, and every word he speaks is golden.

After lunch, we boarded a bus for the short ride over to the Performing Arts building to see a short selection from the college’s presentation of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.  The student actors were wonderful, and got a standing ovation from this audience.  I had never actually seen any of the play before, and I was impressed by how well it was done.

We learned that this production included the senior project of one of the students of stage design.  I was very impressed!

MerchantOfVenice-stage

The student cast was also pretty impressive.

MerchantOfVenice-cast

On the last night, we actually went to see the full production, with some other Ricochet friends, and at the end, the cast got standing ovations, cheers, and whistles from the mostly-student audience.  They sure deserved it.

We finished the play and chose to walk back to campus rather than ride the bus.  Smart, because it was only a two-block walk!  The bus had driven a lot farther than that to get there.

We then got back in the car and drove to our hotel to dress for dinner and the evening’s activities.  First there was a reception in a building described as a tent.  Well, it was bigger and more permanent-looking than most tents we’d seen before!

OutsideBigTent

Inside the tent, there was a nice bar setup, and tables of finger food.  The decorations were pretty elaborate, too.

InsideBigTent

And there was a student group providing entertainment.  They were very good!

StringQuartet

After the reception, we went in to dinner.  After the meal, there were two speakers.  First was Dr. Larry Arnn, the President of Hillsdale.  Dr. Arnn is quite a remarkable guy, and everyone loves to hear him speak, on whatever topic.  Tonight’s speech described the 175th Anniversary, and the History and Purpose of Hillsdale College.  Or the Reason for the Season.

Next was everyone’s favorite Rush Guest Host, Mark Steyn, speaking on American Academia.  He got lots of laughs, and some groans, as everyone in this audience is pretty familiar with the horrid state of most modern universities.  After dinner, it was back in the car to the hotel, to rest up for the Big Day.

At 9:30AM the following day, we proceeded to the new Christ Chapel for the formal Dedication Ceremony.  We had seen the outside of the Chapel the previous day, and it looked amazing.

ChristChapelFront

We proceeded inside for the dedication, and we were a bit late, so seated way on the side in the back.  But we did have a view.

ChapelGallery

The first speaker was Dr. Arnn.  But it was the second speaker who inspired everyone, and that was Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

JusticeThomasSpeaks

After the Dedication Ceremony was over, everyone left the Chapel, and was standing outside waiting for the call to lunch.  That included Board President Pat Sajak, Dr. Arnn, and some Hillsdale students.

Pat,Larry,pals

With the Chapel empty, we walked back up the stairs, and got some time with the organ master, who described the features of the Fritts Organ, made by a company in Tacoma, Washington, and got to hear some samples of what it could do. Remarkable!

ChapelSanctuary

That’s Hubby in the foreground.  Now, the Organ:

FrittsOrgan

OrganPipes

And get a load of all those switches!  Even the pedals have extra switches.

Switches-organ

Then we all trooped back into lunch and more speakers.  The lunch speaker was Mollie Hemingway, whose talk was about the political divide in America.  We all had extensive experience with that.

After lunch, we went to a presentation on the Barney Charter School Initiative, with which we were already familiar.  See who was there:

Thomas,Steyn,Arnn

That was as close as we got to Justice Thomas.  His Security was everywhere, although this audience was about the most congenial and welcoming he could ever ask for.  After that, it was back in the car to the hotel to change for dinner.

The dinner speakers were Dr. Arnn, Mr. Sajak, and Stephen VanAndel, Vice Chairman of the Board, introducing the new Four Pillars Campaign, to raise zillions of dollars for Hillsdale.  There was an excellent video, of Hillsdale students and faculty describing the school.  I can think of no worthier place to donate than to Hillsdale College.  We are so proud of what they are doing, and we are endowing a scholarship for a music student.

After dinner, it was back to the Chapel, for a concert by the Hillsdale Symphony Orchestra.  They were magnificent!

HillsdaleOrchestra

But the best part of all was the end.  The conductor had promised us a big surprise, and that it was.  The Choir all trooped up to the front, and the orchestra and choir played and sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.  I tell you, there were few dry eyes in that audience, as the student musicians and singers praised the Lord in song.

After the concert, there was a reception in the Tent, and music by Hillsdale’s Jazz Band.

NightChapel

JazzBand

And that was the official finish of the 175th Anniversary Gala.  However, we stayed another day, so we could do some shopping and sightseeing.

We parked on the edge of Campus, and we saw an animal that we last saw there in 2010. I don’t think we have these in Washington.  Have you ever seen a black squirrel?  They were very pretty.

BlackSquirrel

We next went to the Grewcock Student Union to do some shopping in the bookstore. And guess who we met on the way?  I just had to get my picture taken with the guy.

RB-Churchill

When we were done with our shopping, we went over to the Music Building, so we could see where our money will be going, when we endow our scholarship. I guess you can tell that this must be the Music Building.

MusicBuilding

It was a school day, so we did hear various ensembles, and a student taking a private violin lesson.

Then we got back into the car and did some sightseeing before returning to our hotel to rest and pack to leave the next day.  We saw a fair amount of fields with already-harvested corn, with the stalks still standing.

MichiganField

This was an excellent trip.  We renewed our commitment to Hillsdale, and we look forward to visiting again soon, before another nine years go by!

 

You have GOT to be kidding! Nope, it’s Seattle

Further insanity from the People’s Republic of Seattle.

First, we have the Seattle Public Schools considering a “Social Justice Math” curriculum requirement.  Yes, that’s a Mandate that K-12 teachers in the Seattle Public Schools teach Math with a Social Justice slant.  (I urge my readers to click on that article-it will make you want to scream). All the way through from elementary to high school.  This would be laughable, if it weren’t so dangerous.  [A big Hat Tip to the Washington Free Beacon which published this article] The poor children of Seattle have been indoctrinated with Progressive ideology for 40 years now, and you can see it in the horrible test scores and shrinking graduation rates.  Seattle students have been indoctrinated with White Privilege garbage for years, and now they want to teach Progressive math.  It’s a wonder any Seattle student can get a job at all, with their useless “knowledge” curricula.  This is going to make it even worse.  And the Radical Environmentalism taught in what pass for Seattle schools, is having another effect.

That would be the new Heating Oil Tax due to take effect next summer.  Those in Seattle with old heating-oil tanks (probably many in older, sometimes historic, homes, which abound in the city), will be forced to dig them up, dispose of them, and buy a new furnace that uses another source of energy.  That is many thousands of dollars’ worth of work needed, even before factoring in the high cost of a new furnace!  And I can just see it now, the five companies in the area who specialize in this kind of work will be booked solid for years, thus denying many families the ability to get the work done, even if they can afford it!

“Tax increases on fuel, such as Seattle’s tax, penalizes families and households who can ill afford the latest and greatest efficient home heating systems,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy” told the news organization.  The city says the poor will be subsidized for this work, meaning those who are not quite poor will be paying for their neighbors to get new furnaces, while also shelling out the big bucks for their own new furnace and oil-tank disposal.

And Mayor Jenny Durkan will just go on, in her nice little enclave, totally unaware of how the citizens of her city are being buried in costs that just pile up higher and higher with each Environmental Wacko mandate.

I find this thoroughly disgusting, and just two more reasons to stay the hell out of Seattle.

A Day at the Fair

Starting this past weekend, is the Washington State Fair in the Pierce County town of Puyallup (pronounced pew-allup).  We drove there from our house in Everett, which is a long drive, but it was a nice day on Sunday.  Lots of homeowners there allow their front yards to be used for parking, and local civic groups have lots they use for Fair parking too.  We didn’t even try to find a place on the street.

IMG_0252

This was about five blocks from the fairgrounds.  We entered at the Blue Gate.

IMG_0253

I had a hunch things would not be going smoothly right outside the gate.  First, the sole of one of my flip-flops separated right at the gate, so I knew I’d have trouble walking around if I didn’t get it fixed.  Also, the Fair has gone “total airline” on bag-checks at the gates, so I was required to empty my water bottle before entering.  As if I was carrying something other than water!  It did nothing to improve my disposition, I can tell you.

Once inside, we had to decide where to go first.  I figured I’d have to find someone with glue, or someone selling flip-flops!  Here’s what we saw just inside the gate.

IMG_0254

I knew there was a big building holding the “trade show” booths, of various businesses trying to sell you something. Well, it just so happened that the Vionic people were there, selling their orthotic-friendly flip-flops, so I bought a pair and wore them for the rest of the day.  One problem solved.

Next stop, Carousel.  This is a very pretty one, with nicely-painted horses, ridden by lots of happy kids (and even a parent or two).

IMG_0261

Next, FOOD!

IMG_0256

RushBabe decided to be somewhat incendiary, wearing the Trump garb in Deep Blue Western Washington.

IMG_0257

But this time, I guessed wrong!  I got about a half-dozen remarks on my shirt and hat, and every single one was positive!  I saw another lady in a pink Trump2020 hat, and got a bunch of thumbs-up and people saying they liked my shirt. Very unusual!

Well, what’s a State Fair without animals?  I, being horse-crazy, headed for that area, and I captured two very nice-looking steeds.  I was very pleased to see that the breed that has to be the most beautiful ever designed by Nature, the Friesian, was represented!  They are coal black and shiny, and very graceful. Too bad I neglected to take his picture standing up.

IMG_0281

Here’s another pretty guy.

IMG_0283

And, the obligatory calf.

IMG_0278

And some just beautifully-marked chickens.

IMG_0274

We dropped by the building with local non-profits.  I just got a kick out of these two organizations, back to back.  The Wildlife Conservation folks.

IMG_0259

Back to back with the Trappers!

IMG_0260

I wondered, did they speak to each other?

We visited the Hobby Hall, and saw all kinds of exhibits of crafts made by people all over Washington.

IMG_0264

A nice model of the Titanic.

IMG_0269

And a nice variety of quilts.  I especially loved this Hogwarts one!  See Hedwig on the shelf?  And the LEGO Harry?  Very cute!

IMG_0270

Very Washington!

IMG_0271

And birds.  These quilts are made by professionals, and this one won three awards.

And by this time, we old folks were getting tired, so we headed home.  A great day at the Fair!

 

Non-Civilization in our Civilized Country

Did you know that there are pockets of “non-civilization” within our civilized United States?  And we host them, and encourage them to continue to be not-civilized.  We spend significant federal dollars on maintenance of these pockets of non-civilization. Those pockets of non-civilization are called Indian Reservations, and they are everywhere in the United States.  One of the main definitions of civilization is people giving their allegiance to a Nation-State instead of a clan or tribe.  Out of guilt for the way the early Americans treated the natives of North America, we continue to support their tribes, when we should be urging them to get civilized, and join America.

If it were up to me, this is what I would do.  I would give the descendants of the original inhabitants of North America two choices.  First, they could choose to become sovereign nations within the boundaries of their Reservations.  Each tribe would be given title to the land on its reservations, and to no other land.  If the Cherokee wished to be the Nation of Cherokee, they would have all their reservation land for themselves.  The US Treasury would also give the Tribe all the money currently held in trust for them, recognizing that they are fully-capable adult human beings, and should be able to look after themselves and their families without the Big Brother Uncle Sam doling out the money and services.  All services currently provided by Uncle Sam (like the Indian Health Service, schools, etc.) would then become the responsibility of the Tribal Government.  Within their own sovereign territory, they would be able to have their own police, schools, banks, and public services.  They would continue to own and operate any casinos or other retail businesses for themselves, and keep all the profits therefrom for their Tribal members.  They would have no future call on the taxpayers of the United States for any goods or services in their own country.  And they would have the responsibility to take care of their own people, and would never be able to blame any other entity for their problems.

The second alternative would be for all Indian Tribes to be immediately disbanded, and reservations done away with.  All the money currently held in trust by the United States, and all reservation land would be divided up among all tribal members.  All Native Americans would become full US Citizens, with no allegiance to any entity other than the United States of America.  Old Tribes would simply become social clubs, where tribal members could celebrate their heritage in any legal way they wished.  Tribal property like casinos and commercial land would also be divided up among the current owners, and they would become independent businesses, subject to the rules of the area in which they operated.  All businesses would be subject to the tax and laws of their respective jurisdictions, as would individuals.  Without the tribe to hold their allegiance, Native Americans would be able to become truly civilized.

Do I think this could ever happen?  Probably not!  But it’s been over 150 years since the Europeans conquered the Natives, and it’s time they surrendered.  They just might find it a pretty good deal to become real US Citizens instead of pockets of non-civilization in our very civilized country.