A Trip to Southern California, First of Two Posts

A Trip to Southern California, First of Two Posts

This week, we went to Southern California for a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar, the subject of which was Politics and Principles.  The venue was a nice Hilton Hotel  near the John Wayne Orange County Airport.  Over two days, we had a President’s Club reception, a nice dinner, with remarks by Dr. Larry Arnn, the President of the college, and an excellent lecture by Andrew Roberts, on The Importance of Churchill for Today.  He brought, and signed, copies of his book on Churchill.  Which weighs about 5 pounds!  I bought one, and from just the first few pages it is going to be a joy to read.

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The second day, there were talks by Peter Schweitzer, who spoke on the corruption of America’s political elite (which we are all familiar with already); Dr. Arnn, who discussed American Principles and Public Policy;

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Christopher Bedford, on Trump and the Media;

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And Dr. Shelby Steele, who discussed the current state of race relations in America.  I know of him through his excellent writing in the Wall Street Journal, and I was excited to hear him speak.

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I was very lucky, because on Saturday as we were just packing to leave, I actually met Dr. Steele in the hotel corridor, so I got a chance to exchange a few words with the man, who is very gracious.

The Hillsdale program ended Thursday at 3:00PM, so we had the rest of the day free.  We headed over to the nearby South Coast Plaza Mall, which is any shopper’s dream.  Inside the main court, we saw their wonderful Chinese New Year display.  They did the Year of the Pig proud!

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That’s a pretty happy pig, sitting on all that gold!  But you really have to look up to get a real feel for the holiday.

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The epitome of Festive!

On Friday, we headed up to Santa Monica, to meet a Ricochet friend of ours.  Ray really wanted to see Venice Beach and its Canals, and our friend offered to take us on a stroll, and then out for lunch.  It was a bit later than we planned, but we had a nice walk.  Just in case you are not familiar, the “canals” of Venice, California, are narrower, and much shallower than the real Venice!  But one of the canals is named The Grand, and people whose houses back up to the canal milk it for all it’s worth.

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That’s their house number on the left!  Very creative painting on their wall.

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Very pretty, but that water is about two feet deep.  No danger of drowning if you fall in.

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We figured that the owner of this yard was a modernist type of artist.  Both the tree with the crows, and the legs above, are in the same big yard.

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When was the last time you saw a dinghy with a figurehead?

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This is definitely Southern California!  Ripe lemons!

Of course, when we were done and back to the car on the main road, what should we see across the street?

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Yep, the homeless encampment.  It was like we’d never left home.

 

 

R.I.P. Pat Caddell

Pat Caddell died yesterday from complications of a stroke.  He and his good nature will be missed.

We met Mr. Caddell on the Hillsdale Cruise to Hawaii last summer.  For a guy who was a Democrat pollster for decades, he sounded surprisingly conservative in his lectures on the ship. We enjoyed his stories of political campaign polling, and we were surprised by the vehemence of his anger at the lies told by some liberal polling outfits.

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He was always honest (unlike some he told of), and had a great sense of humor about history, and the part he played in it.

May he rest in peace.

Do you have children or grandchildren? You might be interested in this. And not in a good way.

Hubby and I have a new great-niece, who just turned one year old.  For her birthday, I went to the book store to find a nice picture book (we will not be giving her any toys, just books for birthdays and Chanukah). What I found was not very nice, in my opinion.  It seemed to me that most, if not all, recently-written kids’ books are written with some kind of political theme in mind.  We have known for many years that the “educational” establishment has been indoctrinating our young people with the standard Progressive world view, including diversity, inclusion, homosexuality, environmentalism, feminism, and “gender-fluidity”, among many other disgusting themes.  Don’t we remember the furor surrounding the book Heather has Two Mommies, that was featured in some elementary schools a while ago?

I found it interesting that, for the last weekend in December, the Seattle Times and Wall Street Journal both did features on new “literature” for today’s “woke” kids.  The title of the Seattle Times story was “12 groundbreaking books for young readers of all genders“. (emphasis mine).  The point of view is right there in the title, you don’t even have to read any further.  Some of the titles are My First Book of Feminism (for Boys); From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea (written by a “trans-gender woman”); Mae Among the Stars, written about a black woman who went into space, “to push back against sexism and racism”; Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different: True Tales of Amazing Boys who Changed the World Without Killing Dragons, written to push back against “toxic masculinity”; and “The Best Man”, urging boys NOT to become “masculine”.  Hey, parents, this is what your kids are being urged to read!  Your boys are being taught that to be a boy, who does boy stuff, is a bad thing! Your girls are being taught that if they do not end up as scientists or astronauts, it’s because of Sexism.

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In the Wall Street Journal, their children’s book editor Meghan Cox Gurdon says, in her piece entitled “You’re Never Too Young to Take a Stand”:

“When posterity looks back at the children’s books of 2018, it will notice a strong political current that, as in a river, progresses in one direction.  Posterity will observe, for instance, that the presidential election of two years before continued to have a downstream effect in the form of numerous picture books that celebrate certain ways of seeing the world and offer a rebuke to others.”

She cites picture books that have themes of acceptance of immigrants, tearing down all barriers, and acceptance of same-sex marriage.  Yes, little kids are learning about homosexuality and same-sex marriage!  She mentions a young-adult book about a dystopia that includes bad US government interning Muslim citizens, and the good American teen who helps a fugitive escape from a prejudiced land to Canada.  And she mentions  all the books of 2018 that featured the female Supreme Court Justices, and no mention of the males.  Girls Good; Boys Bad is the refrain.  And her final mention is a book entitled Woke Baby.

So, instead of looking for new books for my little niece, I will be buying her the well-loved books of the past, including Babar the Elephant, and Madeleine.  Parents, be very careful out there when choosing literature for your kids.  Read everything first, and make sure that what they are reading isn’t as subversive as all these books seem to be.

It’s Been A Year

It’s Been A Year

2018 has been quite a year in the RB49 Universe.  We survived just fine, but not without some bumps and bruises.  Well, whose life doesn’t have some bumps?

On January 2, we got a new Grand-Niece, when my nephew became a Dad.  She’s a cutie, and I’m going to her first birthday party tomorrow.

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Also in January, I received a promotion and a raise in salary at my job as a Buyer at an aerospace company.  Later in the year, I received another raise in salary.  But along with that promotion came lots of new responsibilities connected to the re-organization of our department, and I have to admit I have felt overwhelmed at times.  When I left for the year on December 21, I had over 800 emails in my inbox that I simply did not have time to get to.  And when I logged in today, I found that, even though my contacts are aware that the company is closed, they are still sending me email and expecting responses!  So I know that when I return I will have a full docket.  Sigh…it’s a burden being indispensable! Oh, and I almost forgot.  On January 2 I celebrated my tenth anniversary at my company, which is big for me, since it’s the longest I’ve ever stayed at any one job.

In the “bumps and bruises” department, for the first time since I have been married (2003), I spent so much time in various dentist’s chairs, I maxed out both dental insurance policies!  I lost a bridge that had been in my mouth since age 11, when one of the two anchor teeth turned out to be rotten, and I lost a molar for the same reason.  So in 2019, one of my first items of business will be to get an implant where the bridge was. Well, when you get to be age 69, stuff tends to start falling apart.  I come from a family with bad teeth, so it’s not unexpected.

In April, we did a whirlwind Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Colorado Springs, where we met up with our Ricochet friends and attended some very interesting lectures.

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In May, another of our Ricochet friends happened to be in Seattle for a conference, so we went downtown and had a nice dinner.  In June, yet another of our Ricochet friends came to town, and a bunch of us did some sightseeing, and a tour of the Boeing factory, and had another nice dinner, a bit closer to home.

On a sadder note, also in May, my brother-in-law succumbed to liver disease, and my sister was left a widow.  We are closer now that we were before, and I have come to understand better, how much she has always done for our family.  I surely appreciate her more.

Throughout the year, Hubby and I took our normal amount of day trips, to the Diablo Lake Overlook in the North Cascades, and to LaConner in Skagit County.  In July/August, we went on the Hillsdale College Cruise to Hawaii and back, and my readers will have enjoyed my essays on the subject.  Well, it’s December, so here’s a little reminder.

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At the end of August, Hubby had a total knee replacement operation, and he was out of work for the entire month of September.  I got a lot of exercise, going up and down the stairs bringing him stuff in our bedroom.  He has bounced back, and recovered nicely, and has resumed playing easy squash at his athletic club.

In November, we went to Victoria, BC for an accordion function with Hubby’s band, and had a nice time reacquainting ourselves with the town.  So here we are now, in the last week of the year 2018, and all in all it’s been pretty good.  We are both healthy, safe, and gainfully employed.  2019 will be a bit unsettled, as my company was sold in the fall, and the sale will close in the third quarter.  We have no idea what our fate will be, but we expect some big changes, and some job cuts.  Normally, the company who bought my company, has a reputation for “slash-and-burn” tactics when it buys another company, but this time may be different as we are about equal in size.  Who knows, I may be required to retire next year, even though I sure don’t want to.

Just two days ago, I again got in my car, and drove to Seattle to participate in the University Unitarian Church full-length Messiah Sing/Play-along.  My stand partner was there again, and we had a great time playing the awe-inspiring music of Handel, and listening to the big choir sing the inspiring words, all taken from the Bible.  It just makes my heart sing, and brings a smile every time.

One thing I do know is that this blog will continue in the New Year.  I heartily wish all my followers and readers a Happy New Year, and very best wishes for a healthy, prosperous 2019.

 

In honor of Chanukah, pictures of Israel

This week marks the holiday of Chanukah, and the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek desecrators of the Temple.  The ancient Jews, fighting for their homeland, were fierce warriors, who were not finally defeated until the Romans did so in 70AD with the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.  Here are some pictures that I took on our trip to Israel in 2007.

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Walls and room, Masada, Israel

Evidence of another group of brave Jews, who committed suicide rather than surrender to the Romans.

View from Wall of Jerusalem Old City.
View from the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. This is MY Country.

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This is the view from Masada, toward the Dead Sea.  Dry, but absolutely beautiful.

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The lower pool at Ein Gedi, oasis amid the parched wilderness.

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The ancient city of Caesarea, on the Mediterranean Sea.  The city of Herod the Great.

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Women at the Wailing Wall, remnant of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. These are MY People.

Happy Chanukah to all.

On The Jews

On The Jews

I am currently reading Walter Russell Mead’s book God and Gold, subtitled Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World.  In this book, he discusses the role of religion as one of the forces in the making of the Western Enlightenment societies we have today.  He says this about the Jews in today’s world:

Apart from the significance of Jewish experience to Jews, the survival of the Jews into modern times serves for billions of non-Jews as a kind of historical proof that the God of Abraham is powerful and real.  God told Abraham that he would have descendants who would remember his name–and lo! there they are.  That this unique people, returning almost miraculously against all probability to the land God promised Abraham would support his descendants, is a kind of bone in the throat of the world–a people and a state that can neither be spat out nor swallowed, unable to find rest at “home” or in exile–only further shows billions of Abrahamic believers just how powerful the narrative (or the God) remains after all these millennia.  That world history remains convulsed by the struggles of the Jews to make a home, and that their ethical and military successes and failures reverberate to the ends of the earth, further reinforces the most powerful cultural force that human beings know.

I just love his phrase about the “bone in the throat of the world”, it just works.  And the paragraph above supports what I have come to think of as the role of the Jewish People in the world.

The Jews are the Conscience of Humanity.  You will know when the human race is well and truly doomed.  When the last Jew is gone.

May the Jewish People live, and thrive, Forever.  Amen.