Mountain Village, Philippines

Several of the younger generation (mostly guys in teens and 20s) at our congregation routinely visit villages and small churches up in the mountains. The places they go are only accessible by motorcycle and on foot. For some of their routes they leave their motorcycles at the last village accessible by trail and then walk a few more hours. For some, they walk their motorcycles part way.

Last week they took my husband with them, something they’ve all be wanting to do for a while, but it isn’t always safe. There are rebel soldiers in some areas, and frankly, out in the mountains you don’t necessarily want to have a run-in with government soldiers, either. In fact, they had to change their plans 3/4 of the way there, because at the place where they left the motorcycles they were told rebel army and government soldiers had been spotted in the area they planned to go, so they should visit somewhere else. They did. They still had a small meeting with a couple government soldiers. One of the young preachers was filming some of their visit and the soldiers were concerned that he was filming them. They came to the home where the guys were staying and asked him questions about who they were, why they were there, and had him show them all the images on his camera so they could make sure he wasn’t filming them. My husband, for a brief and foolish moment considered surreptitiously taking a picture of them because soldiers in uniform with their very large and obvious weapons questioning our preacher friend is the kind of picture the folks at home would just love to see. But then he remembered it wasn’t only himself he was placing at risk, so he didn’t. I punched him in the arm anyway when he told me about it, just for thinking about it.

Pictures below:


That bridge:

One of the churches they visited:



Drying cacao:


House where they slept- six on the floor, two in a bed:


Laundry room:


Leaving motorcycles with a friend, they start walking.

The road narrows to a mud path.  My husband took off his shoes about here:

Tramline: You can walk it- that’s what people did to get from village to the other before the tramline went in. It’s a steep walk and you have to cross a river. But it’s free. The tramline is about half a day’s wages.


This is back in our neighbourhood, just a couple blocks from home:

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Saving the West

  1. “One of the leading philosophers of our time says Western culture will have to be handed down outside the ivory towers and college lecture halls – and he has strong reason to believe that its promulgators will be successful.”


The whole article is worth reading.


There are many ways to rage against the dying of the light, to push back.


I would suggest thinking about two questions:

What are you reading?

To whom are you reading?


“It never occurs to the people who run our schools, Fitzhugh said recently on his Concord Review blog, “that if students read more, they would know more, and in that way actually have some knowledge they wanted to write about.””

““But reading and knowledge never seem to find their way into discussions of Literacy in Our Time,” he said. “When teaching our students to write, not only are standards set very low in most high schools, limiting students to the five-paragraph essay, responses to a document-based question, or the personal (or college) essay about matters which are often no one else’s business, but we often so load up students with formulae and guidelines that the importance of writing when the author has something to say gets lost in the maze of the processes.””

What are your kids reading?

What are their friends reading?


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Culture stuff

Asked Korean friends to define pittakkage- 삐딱하게- which is most often translated as crooked but via context means something much different than the usage in ‘there was a crooked man who walked a crooked mile.’
So they tried to demonstrate with a series of charades. They showed somebody sitting in church and crossing their legs. That was a complete blank for me. They showed somebody sort of slouching, weight off center, more on one foot than the other, arms crossed. Sort of like the way I stand all the time, because one leg is shorter than other and I prefer to get the weight off of that hip. They showed me somebody sitting properly- straight up, both feet flat on the floor, back straight, hands on the knees (preferably, slightly closed hands, fingers folded down under the palms, palms down on the knees)- this is not 삐딱하게. It’s proper. Then they showed me the contrast, sitting unevenly, a leg crossed, slouching…

For me we went from stiff and uncomfortable to comfortable, relaxed or possibly lazy and sloppy, but none of these conveyed what they felt was the essence of 삐딱하게.

I can’t recap all the work we went through trying to reach mutual understanding and alternately shocking each other. Much of it went like this, though:
Me: You can’t sit with your legs crossed? This is so unimportant in American culture I would not even notice if somebody’s legs are crossed or not!
Them: You don’t notice? IT doesn’t MATTER? You can do that in CHURCH?!

Essentially, it’s a combination of being rebellious, on the hostile side, looking for trouble, making trouble, selfish.

Straight and centered seems to be an important key to understanding a lot of Korean culture, from the alphabet on up.

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Current events

Grievance study:

Writers Behind ‘Grievance Studies Scandal’ Address Criticisms


The Grievance Studies Scandal: Five Academics Respond

Moral panics:


Media dereliction of duty:

Media Mangles Its Duty to Question Ford

Susan Collins’ speech on Senater floor: why she will vote yes on Kavanaugh:

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Slang and Yearbooks and other stuff Kavanaugh

Before the Ford allegations and their weaker imitations, Democrats were insisting that Zina Bash was a white supremacist because of the way she held her hands during one of the confirmation hearings, and for making the ‘ok, got it’ signal to somebody during a conversation a day later.

Kavanaugh was accused of deliberately snubbing a Parkland victim’s father in a clear attempt at a set-up by that same father, who had posted about his disdain for Kavanaugh before he went to the hearings.  That feels like years ago.

Ford’s story is crumbling, Ramirez is shown to have never had a story at all until she spent a week or two calling up all her old college friends trying to get one of them to  agree with her new decision to say that the drunken guy who had behaved unseemly with her drunken self at a party she couldn’t remember well was Kavanaugh (she also talked with her lawyer for a week before decided that 30 years ago, that vague, irritating memory was sharp and it was Kavanaugh).  Poor Julie Swetnick,  is shown to be the complete basket case of lies and crazy-cake that you would expect from the creepy porn lawyer who shoved her into the spotlight.  Her story went from ten gang rape parties she witnessed and Kavanaugh spiking the punch while nobody was looking to she saw some boys hanging around outside bedroom doors and Kavanaugh was standing near a punch bowl.  She also named four witnesses and when NBC contacted them, one was dead, one said he’d never even met Swetnick, and the other two didn’t return NBC’s phone calls.  Much like Ford’s story, there should be serious alarm bells going off that the allegations are not credible when the witnesses the *accusers* name say it never happened. (Ford’s longtime best friend, whom Ford named as being *at the party* says she has never met Kavanaugh and never been to a party he attended, with or without Ford.  That really should matter immensely).  (Ford’s ex boyfriend has also submitted a letter to the committee that Ford has, indeed, helped somebody with tips on passing a polygraph test, which she explicitly denied under oath at the hearings)

And can I also point out that as ludicrous, unfounded, and outrageous as Swetnick’s claims are, that all ten Democrats on the judiciary committee responded to them by demanding for Kavanaugh to immediately withdraw- because we are now in the days where a mere accusation means you are too guilty to be considered, no matter how phony it clearly is.  So phony, in fact, that some of the same Democrats accused Republicans of leaking those spurious allegations to the press. (Good Lord, here’s another)

So now that the sex allegations are a no-go, we’re at devastating allegations that there was a college bar brawl this one time, where somebody alleges Kavanaugh threw some ice, and four  or five guys went to the police station for questioning.  Never mind that after the questioning, Kavanaugh was definitely released, and if anybody was detained, it was an entirely different person.  Doesn’t matter, because  30 years ago as a college kid, he possibly threw ice that one time, so he’s clearly unqualified.

Nobody has an allegation from this century, except for the one that he got angry and offended that people were making false accusations of rape against him and apparently, nobody should be angry about that.  Other than the fact that he hates being accused of things he didn’t do, there are no allegations even from after he graduated from college and presumably grew up as happens with the majority of young people who live past the age of 21 or 22.

And even though we all admit that our own yearbooks exaggerated and inflated our own escapades and included stupid jokes that we would hate to have to explain in public precisely because they were so lame, somehow, the year book entries are, in Kavanaugh’s case, proof of what he actually did and so anything he says contradicting them is a lie.  It is common sense knowledge that if we are to compare the testimony of an adult with a yearbook entry we know it is the yearbook entry most  likely to be false.

As for defining some of those terms- this is ridiculous and silly, but:

Devil’s Triangle as a drinking game- Devil’s Triangle in the seventies and 80s was a synonym for the Bermuda Triangle.  I haven’t seen a single reference to it as being something about sex before the 90s when I guess everything got smuttier.  I never played it, but there are those who did.

Boof- I can’t believe we’re even discussing this. Nevertheless.  In The Urban Dictionary there’s a 2007 entry defining boof as “a wet fart” and a 2003 entry for “to fart”. Are you proud of yourselves, Democrats, for only knowing a more recent and vulgar definition?  For not even checking?

ffffff: “Since it’s come up — I grew up across the street in Chevy Chase from the guy known as “Squi” and saw him every day in my childhood. He did not stutter, so nothing to mock in that dept. but he did have that funny way of saying the F-word, as BK said. FWIW.” Charles Lane  WaPo opinion writer who seems to be trying not to take sides, considers Ford worth listening to, Swetnick not credible.

In my own yearbook- which I burned- I remember one particular entry  referring to some night never to be forgotten and Stardust.  It sounded quite illicit and wicked and mysterious and left many things to the imagination and made it sound like there was definitely something wild and sinful to be imagined.  And, if you look up stardust on the urban dictionary, you will see a bunch of disturbing references to cocaine and sex and lady parts and glitter.  It’s pretty horrifying to imagine kids of around 14 or so, which is how old I think we were for this one, involved in any of the activities under the stardust definitions.

Do you know why I remember that particular entry so well?  Because pretty close to nothing had happened. It was funny to me precisely because  it sounded so wild but nothing had happened. for reasons I no longer remember except I feel like we’d sneaked out of a school related activity, maybe a choir event,  Some of us had ended up in the parking lot of a local nightclub called The Stardust late at night.  I’m not sure why the Stardust, except maybe the event we were ditching was nearby. Absolutely nothing illicit, illegal, drug or sex related happened.  In fact, pretty much nothing happened that would sound real or meaningful, and if I had to testify in court that the Stardust reference in my yearbook was innocent it would sound phonier than a 3 dollar bill.   We sang and danced by ourselves in the empty parking lot and it was fun, but the only daring thing about it was we were playing hooky from something, out past our curfews singing and dancing in the parking lot of a nightclub.  I didn’t know it then, but looking back on it now, I feel like that particular nightclub was a really sketch place to be and we are fortunate that nothing bad happened to us, that we were there while it was closed so nobody was around.  So think about that in conjunction with my hypothetical testimony- some yearbook reference to that night at the stardust and wink, wink, don’t tell, and it turns out the stardust was a nightclub of shady repute- and I am going to testify that it was just a handful of high school kids goofing off, singing and dancing in the parking lot, no booze or drugs or sex involved at all.  That would be totally unbelievable. But it’s true.

Furthermore, slang is regional, even more so before the internet, and then there’s micro-slang- you know, the inside jokes and stupid stuff that doesn’t mean anything to anybody who wasn’t there.  None of the accusations here are credible and they certainly do not rise to perjury.

Then we come to the blacking out/passing out stuff (notice how far and away we are from stating the sexual assault allegations are true, which were, allegedly, the focus of the delayed confirmation.

Passing out- you are unconscious.

Blacking out- you are awake and can even appear fully conscious, but you have imbibed to the point that your brain is not creating memory, so the next day you don’t remember what you did or said.

This is only partially a function of the amount of alcohol imbibed.  It seems also to be somewhat idiosyncratic, varying with the individual.  Different people can imbibe the same amount of alcohol and one could black out, the other could pass out, another vomit (and thus lose some of the alcohol in his stomach and be less likely to do either), or none of the above.

Kavanaugh definitely engaged in careful lawyerly parsing of his sentences, but although I keep reading he perjured himself, there have been zero credible examples, and they flatly ignore what he actually said.  Kavanaugh said he drank a lot, he sometimes drank to excess, (“Sometimes, I had too many beers” is what he said under oath), as did some of his friends, and that sometimes he went to sleep, but he never blacked out.  Went to sleep to me was lawyerly parsing for passing out- they are essentially the same state.  Blacking out is totally different, and like it or not, it’s not really something anybody else can claim that another person did, although they could say they witnessed that person the day or week after and said person then claimed to have no memory of hanging upside down from the banisters singing God Bless America while wearing nothing but a tiara and a feather boa.

The fact that you cannot tell by looking whether a person is in black out drunk stage or not doesn’t stop people from trying.   Kavanaugh’s former college classmate Chad Ludington  claimed that he personally knew, “unequivocally”, that Kavanaugh is lying when he  denied  he blacked out from drinking.  His proof is that he never saw him passed out (!!) but he did see him really drunk.

One of the examples he gives is a party (remember, this is college) where he says Brett threw a beer in a man’s face and one of their classmates ended up in jail.

Wait a minute.  Is this the same story going around about Kavanaugh throwing ice at a guy, a general bar brawl ensued, the police interviewed Kavanaugh *and four other guys*, and Kavanaugh was released without charges?

Ludington, I am sure by pure coincidence, is a liberal Democrat and outspoken member of the resistance.

Now the NYT is claiming an exclusive scoop with a 1983 letter from Teen-age Brett Kavanaugh about a beach week party he and his friends were planning. It’s not an exclusive nor is it a scoop, Molly Hemingway beat them to it and published it several hours before the NYT. At any rate, it’s a letter by a teenaged boy to teenaged boys and there is nothing surprising in it except that Brett was a pretty darn organized kid. The best take on this I’ve seen is at Twitchy.

To make it clear that this is an organized and determined hit job for political reasons, NBC News  actually went ahead and ran an unsupported and anonymous claim that Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted his girlfriend in 1998.  That girlfriend is now sitting Judge Dabney Freidrich, and she went public 5 days ago to refute the claim, calling it “offensive & absurd”.  NBC does seem to be the worst of the lot this news cycle, although the NYT is certainly fighting for first place.


The only appropriate response to any of this is to confirm Kavanaugh now- and I don’t even like him  for fourth amendment reasons.  He’s not my first, second or third choice (and neither was Trump).  But there is no other way to respond to this that will not empower the Democrats and far left but I repeat myself to escalate the use of lies and smears to attack anybody with whom they disagree, and this cannot be encouraged, it must be smashed into the dust.  For all our sakes.

Meanwhile, today Senator Ted Cruz’s office received letters with white powder in them.

Rep. Andy Harris had 2 pot-smoking demonstrators shove their way through his office doors- CAP police reported it as assault, but I’m not so sure.

Pentagon reports a foiled Ricen attack on the SEcretary of Defense, and another suspicious envelope sent to the President.

But Kavanaugh drank in high school and college.




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