How To Study Torah (And The Constitution)

I was asked the other day about comparing the study of Torah to the study of the Constitution. Most of you know that I once went to Seminary. It was a huge mistake, but I did learn a few things when I was there. One of which was how NOT to study scripture.

The really hard part though is dropping all of your preconceived ideas, all of your already decided beliefs and approaching things with an open mind. You will find that you are right about some things. And you will find that you were wildly wrong about some others.

That said, these are my ideas for how to study Torah… I mean the Constitution…

Continue reading


A curious mini-sub in the news again



So in the past week, this bad boy caused a stir in California’s Monterey Bay:


Some were concerned it was a narco-sub or possibly a spy boat or something, as there aren’t a lot of privately owned manned submersibles in circulation. Turns out, it is noting nefarious and is part of a crowdfunded Community Submarines project to get people into man-in-the-sea activities, which is admirable.

As for the boat itself, currently dubbed Noctiluca, it is the old British-built U.S. Submarines S-101, a 32-foot, two-person diesel-electric mini-submersible with a decent performance (range of 200 miles when surfaced, can dive for 72 hrs, 300+ foot operating depth/1250 ft. crush depth due to its 10 mm thick A43 steel pressure hull) built back in 1987.

If she looks familiar, she was used on a contract for the Royal Swedish Navy through the 1990s to serve as an OPFOR…

View original post 93 more words

No It Isn’t! Yes It Is!

PRODUCERS NOTE: Much bad language in this. If bad words offend you, then don’t listen to it. – Producer Henri

Once upon a time – roughly 45 years ago – there were five siblings who drove each other batty by picking on each other and throwing tricycles down the stairs. Then one of them would call Mom and complain about being picked on. Of course, the one who called Mom always left out the part about throwing the tricycle at the others.

Then they grew up and one of them got a really bad perm. Because it was the 1980s.

And so now those boys are Dads and they watch as their own kids’ fight and argue. And they wonder why the children in Washington, D.C. continue to act like children hitting and yelling at each other and then calling mom and demanding that he other ones be punished…

The Works of Creation

One of the things that I have always been very angry about is that when you are a political Conservative, you are automatically labeled as anti-environment. As if Conservatives actually want, crave even, the wanton destruction of the Earth and its critters.

We don’t, of course. But hey, why let reality get in the way of the use of labels by people who say that they hate people who use labels?

I am not all that much of an outdoorsman. I can’t go camping for the simple reason of pain. I thought seriously about buying an RV, but frankly – and this is slightly embarrassing – I can’t actually use (or even get into) the bathrooms in an affordable RV. So that idea went out the window. At least until I win a few million dollars supporting the education system via the legalized gambling system known as the State Lottery.

Some years ago, I got involved in a bit of a tiff over the proposed John Wayne Day in California. It wasn’t so much that I cared whether or not California had a John Wayne Day to honor the actor. Rather, it was the hypocrisy of why the idea was rejected by the State Legislature. You don’t have to be particularly attentive to know that the reason was (gasp!) “John Wayne was a racist!”

He wasn’t. But hey, why worry about facts when you have a 1971 interview is a sleazy magazine featuring naked women in which he expressed some racist ideas. Mind you, John Wayne was not a politician seeking power over anybody; nor did he seek to inflict his positions on the nation. He expressed an idea. That is not the definition of racism, it’s an exercise of the 1st Amendment. Still, it was enough for the California State Legislature to make an issue of not providing honors to him in the form of a “John Wayne Day” in the State which would not have been an actual Holiday or useful in any way, shape or form to the States economic goals.

The problem is that California is full of places – and a day – named for John Muir. The same people who hated John Wayne Day couldn’t wait to celebrate Muir. While Confederate monuments and Catholic Church statues and murals of Slaveholders (racists) were (and are) being eliminated across the State, John Muir is celebrated and receives continued approbation.

Now, before you get the wrong idea, John Muir was a national treasure. But he is also an example of how people with incorrect beliefs but the right accomplishments are allowed to be celebrated, while those without are shunned and held in disdain…

Revolutionary Revisionism

A recent article from a borderline News site suggested that we would be ‘better off” if there had never been an American Revolution. Of course, the basic premise of his arguments violate Dave’s Rule Number One about history: you cannot impose your cultural values and behavior on another generation. To do so will always be wrong because you weren’t there and you do not understand or know why they did things the way the did.

In recent days though, it has become fashionable to ignore the written records that previous generations have left us for the sole purpose of imposing our cultural values and norms so that history will make us feel better. But that isn’t “history,” it’s pop psychology.

But since we appear to have some time, let’s talk about this idea that we would somehow or another been “better off” if we had simply acquiesced and bowed low to King George III…

Wilkes 45

Recently, a sitting member of Congress informed us that she was pretty upset about the people who are “making fun” of Congress members. She went on to say that she was demanding that those who dared mock her and other Congressweasels were to be hunted down by large dogs and bitten unless they stop it right this minute!

I’m kidding, of course. She didn’t really say anything about using the large dogs.

But she was quite serious and pompous about the fact that she has had it with people making fun of Congressweasles.

Ahem… Members of Congress.

It’s always a remarkable thing when our elected “representatives” seem to know less about the Constitution they take an oath to uphold and defend than say, a drunken gibbon. The gibbon, by the by, is not a member of the great apes, and – as far as I know – does not actually imbibe. Certainly not nearly as a much as most Congresspeople do*. 

What is even more remarkable is an astonishing archeological find this past week in North Carolina that reminds us – as if we needed it again – that criticizing and mocking our “leaders” is pretty much an American pastime, dating back to before there was the United States of America, complete with a Congress full of clowns and buffoons to be mocked in the first place…

*Sorry, that was a bit of sarcastic twitting on my part**.

**To “twit” is to be intentionally insulting. I learned this fact when reading about John Wilkes and his North Briton #45 Newsletter which was full of intentionally insulting barbs aimed at King George III, which is more or less the point of this entire episode. Which is why Frederica Wilson shut just STFU.