Bukidnon Probinsya- what do you notice?

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I know bears like this one

“The Bear Who Let It Alone”: A Fable by James Thurber
“In the woods of the Far West there once lived a brown bear who could take it or let it alone. He would go into a bar where they sold mead, a fermented drink made of honey, and he would have just two drinks. Then he would put some money on the bar and say, ‘See what the bears in the back room will have,’ and he would go home. But finally he took to drinking by himself most of the day. He would reel home at night, kick over the umbrella stand, knock down the bridge lamps, and ram his elbows through the windows. Then he would collapse on the floor and lie there until he went to sleep. His wife was greatly distressed and his children were very frightened.

“At length the bear saw the error of his ways and began to reform. In the end he became a famous teetotaler and a persistent temperance lecturer. He would tell everybody that came to his house about the awful effects of drink, and he would boast about how strong and well he had become since he gave up touching the stuff. To demonstrate this, he would stand on his head and on his hands and he would turn cartwheels in the house, kicking over the umbrella stand, knocking down the bridge lamps, and ramming his elbows through the windows. Then he would lie down on the floor, tired by his healthful exercise, and go to sleep. His wife was greatly distressed and his children were very frightened.

“Moral: You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.”
(James Thurber, “The Bear Who Let It Alone.” Fables for Our Time, 1940)

You know them, too, right? They are the people who once agreed with you about something- members of your church, your club, your email discussion group, your homeschool group or your PTA or political party- it doesn’t matter. You were on the same side of some given issue, for lack of a better way to put it. But every once in a while, or fairly often, or every day, you found yourself cringing. They were bombastic, harsh, hasty to judge people and jump on them for things that weren’t worth twitching, let alone pouncing. They came across too strong, they seemed to relish cutting people down to size. Possibly they even came after you once or twice for not being orthodox on whatever the issue was, or not being orthodox enough, or not, somehow, being quite the person they thought you ought to be in the cause of whatever it was you were travelling companions of a sort.

And then they took a detour, had a conversion, saw the light, reversed themselves and found themselves on the opposite side of whatever it was you had once shared similar notions about- and everything was completely different. Now, everything having changed due to their complete reversal in opinion, you found yourself cringing. They were bombastic, harsh, hasty to judge people and jump on them for things that weren’t worth twitching, let alone pouncing. They came across too strong, they seemed to relish cutting people down to size.

And now they would add to that arsenal, “I know exactly what _____ is like/is thinking/believes, because I used to be just like them. Now I know better, but I used to be one of them so I have inside knowledge about….”

And you haven’t really the heart to tell them, “No. You don’t. You were kind of a harsh, rude, unfair jerk at times before and it made me uncomfortable, and you’re still the same, it’s just the issue that has changed- not your personality. And your personality was never the thing we shared in common, or at least, i hope it wasn’t.”

The mean, jerk pro-lifer becomes a mean, jerk pro=abort and vice versa. The mean, jerk young earth creationist becomes a mean, jerk atheist or theistic evolutionist, or whatever, and vice versa.

A reversal in opinions is not a conversion of the soul.

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Tricky Story Problem

Student I tutor has trouble with story problems.  Part of it is the language issue (English not being her first language), and part of it is a learning disability. We’ve been doing a few practice story problems in between readings.  They easy problems, mathematically, because right now I am just trying to get her confidence up and help her establish some firmer basics than she previously had.

A couple days ago I was really, really tired and I accidentally asked her:

“If you have 3 leaves and there are 5 bugs on each leaf, how many leaves do you have altogether?”

She said zero.

We stared at each other a moment, and then I realized I’d asked how many leaves there were, not how many bugs, but her answer still didn’t make sense.  I looked at her and asked, “I have three leaves and five bugs on each of them, how do I get zero leaves from that?”

“Because,” she said sensibly, “the bugs would eat up those leaves.”

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Chesterton on social maladies

Chesterton on curing social diseases, said we go about it backward. We focus on the problem first and then go after a cure, which is the proper course for physical health, but not really the right approach (he says) for spiritual or social maladies” it is the whole definition and dignity of man that in social matters we must actually find the cure before we find the disease .”  He explains that when it comes to physical health, we all pretty much are agreed on what that looks like.  There may be some disagreement as to scale, but we generally have the same ideas about physical health:

“ow we do talk first about the disease in cases of bodily breakdown; and that for an excellent reason. Because, though there may be doubt about the way in which the body broke down, there is no doubt at all about the shape in which it should be built up again. No doctor proposes to produce a new kind of man, with a new arrangement of eyes or limbs. The hospital, by necessity, may send a man home with one leg less: but it will not (in a creative rapture) send him home with one leg extra. Medical science is content with the normal human body, and only seeks to restore it.”

One may believe veganism or paleo are the best ways to optimum health, and the two are quite different, but we don’t really mean something so very different by ‘optimum health.’

“But exactly the whole difficulty in our public problems is that some men are aiming at cures which other men would regard as worse maladies; are offering ultimate conditions as states of health which others would uncompromisingly call states of disease. ”

This makes me think of so many issues- gun control for just one.  Most of the ‘solutions’ people offer as ‘common sense gun control’ have one of two problems.  They either are already the law (so many gun control advocates seem to no clue what the current laws are), or… the are a solution which I believe offers an even worse malady.  And, of course, aside from the inexcusable failure to investigate and education themselves on what our current laws already are, quite often the solutions that 2A advocates offer are solutions that gun control advocates feel are a worse malady.

You cannot take it for granted that your ‘common sense’ offer is common sense at all to everybody else and this difference of opinion is not because your opponents hate children or are Marxists.

 

Or at least, never the first, and sometimes not the second, because,  to be honest, I have known many gun control advocates who are Marxists, self-avowed, even.  And although the gun control advocates often rage against those who disagree with them by calling them child murderers who hate kids and have blood on their hands, in fact, I have never met a 2A advocate who hated children  or who was a murderer.

I really wish the nasty, spiteful, irrational, and vicious name-calling would stop.

But I also wish the 2A crowd would go one stop further than “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  That is totally true.   It is also totally true that back in the day, and not so very long ago at that, kids brought guns and knives to school and it wasn’t an issue. My highschool, lots of kids had frog-stickers in sheathes on their belts. Plenty of kids had gun racks in their pick up trucks parked outside and nobody shot anybody else up.  We actually had a gang problem- several of my classmates were in jail for murder within five years of graduation. We had a kid in a wheelchair because of a bullet in a gang fight. We nearly lost one of our jocks because he got in a fight with a couple gang members and they carved up his abdomen (all involved were hispanic, for what it’s worth).  But those fights happened off-campus.  My mother taught high school there and she said that the gang members were some of her most respectful students.

So in discussing gun violence, 2A people all agree that the culture has changed, that it’s not the guns it’s ht epeople- but there we seem to stop.  It *is* the people.  Something has changed.  But it’s not enough to acknowledge that- since it has changed, shouldn’t we do something about it?  What?

I don’t know.  I do not know how to put the evil genies back in their bottles- the evil djinns of broken homes, kids who have never seemingly attached or bonded to anybody, fatherless kids, unapologetic bullying, hateful rhetoric in place of reasoned discourse, emotion over reason, victim culture, identity politics and all the rest.  Well, I do know, from my perspective, we all need Jesus and we need Him a lot more.  But how to get there from here, I don’t know.

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Frozen Coffee Parfait

CAFE PARFAIT

One pint of cream

one cupful of cold coffee

three fourths of a cupful of sugar

one tablespoonful of vanilla

Whip the cream quite stiff, add gradually the cup of coffee, then the sugar and vanilla, beating with an egg beater all the ingredients thoroughly together.

Prepare your ice cream freezer as you would for freezing ice cream but leaving out the dasher. Pour the coffee mixture into your can and leave packed in ice and salt three hours.

From an 1897 cookbook

I think I’d just mix coffee and whipped cream, freeze it to slushy stage and then blend it and maybe freeze again, Or I’d just mix the coffee and whipped cream and drink it.

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