Charlie's Blog: January 2018

1.22.2018

SOC 27


If you make a mistake and do not correct it, this is called a mistake.
CONFUCIUS

Regrets. Everybody has them. I have been taking stock lately of my own regrets. I have a hard time about regrets because I don't know how to think about them. The first part of the problem comes down to an information problem. Let's say you come to a fork in the road. There are no signs and no maps. So, you toss a coin and go left to wind up in a place you didn't want to be. But how could you know to go right? That also leaves the mystery that what was on the right would have turned out better than what was on the left.

I always joke that my biggest regret was not buying Microsoft stock back in the 80s. That isn't an actual regret, but I always say it to put things in perspective. Knowing what I know now, everything I've ever done in my life has been a mistake. But, I might have made millions on that stock and got involved with drugs and loose women. That's why you get the cliche that hindsight is 20/20. Going forward, the only thing you can do is not repeat past mistakes.


The only true regrets you can have are moral regrets. We know we should do the right thing. Doing the wrong thing may not always end in disaster and doing the right thing might get us killed. But we don't do moral things because they may benefit us. They may cost us. Instead, we do what is right because it is right.

My biggest regret in the regard of moral regret was my turn to atheism after losing my faith in my twenties. I went through a traumatic experience leading up to that, but I handled it the wrong way. I was a seminarian at a place I would never attend now for anything in the world. I was drowning in the heresy of Calvinism, and I had a friend who drowned in it before me by taking his own life. I should regret ever becoming a Calvinist and not becoming a Catholic, but I didn't know. My only real exposure to Catholicism were some Flannery O'Connor stories I read in high school and college.


I was ignorant of Catholicism, and Protestantism keeps you from learning the truth by lying to you. I was brought up in the belief that Catholics were the heretics while Protestants like myself were on the right path. The Protestant lies are so numerous now that the Protestant church is like a multi-headed hydra. If you find a deficiency in one church, there are a hundred other options to explore. For me, I began in the evangelical Southern Baptist tradition and moved to the Reformed Calvinist Presbyterian tradition. I was fortunate in that those were the only two blind alleys I explored. Others fall into weird charismatic circles, megachurch prospetarianism, or a cult like the Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons.

As for other regrets, they are smaller involving associations with people that I would never associate with now. But you can't know someone until you know them. The difference between then and now is that I cut things off early now. I quit being a crap magnet for people. Bad people don't like me, and they steer clear of me now.

In other news, I must express a bit of amusement as people grapple with the social media issues. It has come out that Twitter does indeed shadowban people as Project Veritas revealed recently. I suspected this was going on, and most conservatives believed it was going on as well. Much of the stuff I posted on Twitter got very little response.


I have tried GAB which is the alt-right alternative, but I have concluded that it is definitely Twitter for racists. Basically, GAB is populated and overrun by all the misfits that got thrown off of Twitter. Granted, GAB has freedom of expression, but this libertarian ethic only results in the service being a giant cesspool for idiots. As someone who followed a similar libertarian philosophy with my own comboxes, I can tell you that it is doomed to failure.

Twitter's problem is that it restrains conservatives because it is a progressive social media service. Likewise, GAB has little restraint because it is a libertarian social media project. I have no idea what a conservative alternative would look like. I have learned that you can't have comments on a blog like this unless you have plenty of time to police it. Other sites require approval before a comment will be published.

I've been off of the social media long enough to report the benefits. I definitely have more time to do other things. It is amazing how much time a site like Twitter or GAB can suck out of your life. One of the last things I read on GAB was Andrew Torba, the GAB founder, reporting the boost in productivity he experienced when he deleted his social media apps from his smartphone. It is tidbits like this that explain my yo-yo addiction with these services.

If you write or produce internet content, you are advised by many to self-promote using social media. This is why every website has a link to a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page. These pages merely carry the links back to the content on the website. The irony is that these social media pages are rarely updated. Social media doesn't really promote your content. It just disperses it. The reality is that you can provide posts, pictures, and links on a good old blog like this one. With social media, you might find links on Twitter, a bit of writing on Facebook, and some interesting pictures on Instagram. That's a lot of surfing to find content.

I think I am going to eschew the self-promotion thing. I was never good at it, so not doing it shouldn't make much difference. I could be good at it if I promoted myself more on social media. But this comes with the downsides of social media that I no longer find tolerable. I have time and focus without social media. I get more done that matters to me. It isn't worth my time to be on Facebook or Twitter or GAB.


This blogger is giving up social media. He echoes Matt Drudge's criticisms of social media as "internet ghettos." My view of it is like this. Imagine you have a sprawling farm outside of the city where you can do virtually anything you like on your property short of building a nuclear reactor or operating a terrorist training camp. If you want to put up a clothesline, no problemo! You want to burn some wood scraps in a burn barrel? Fire it up! But you notice that there aren't a lot of neighbors where you live, and it can be lonely in the rural landscape. So, you decide to sell your farm and move to a suburb with cookie cutter houses and a homeowner's association. Now, you have convenience and neighbors. Then, you forget to mow the lawn, and the homeowner's association falls on you like a frozen fecal meteorite dropped from the refuse tank of a passing airliner. Suddenly, you don't like being a townie so much anymore and yearn for the farm again.

This is the gist of how the internet is today. You have the rural internet where people build websites or keep blogs like this one. You can do virtually what you want within legal limits. The downside of this upside is that no one knows you are out here. Social media is the city internet. If it is policed loosely, you end up with a site like GAB which really is the ghetto. You have freedom, but you might get shot in a drive by. If it is policed tightly, you have the gated community with the HOA and their dictates.

In the real world, I prefer a more rural setting to live. There are trade offs involved with this, but they are worth it. To use another analogy, social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are progresssive/liberal/Marxist because the property is shared and policed by tyranny. GAB is a social media site that grew from the libertarian and dark web side of things such as 4Chan and 8Chan. I never go to those sites. But the conservative answer is staring me in the face. It is the blog.

The blog really is the conservative social media. Each blogger owns his property and polices it as he sees fit. I have zero comboxes here at the C-blog not seeing it being worth the headache. Others do have comboxes, but you have to register to post or submit comments for approval. As such, the blogosphere is pretty tame. Some blogs might upset people, but you can say so on your blog. It is neither anarchy nor tyranny here in the rural internet.


I think the reason social media is so tempting and addictive is because there is more action there in the same way that life in the city is more thrilling than out on the farm. You are either a city mouse or a country mouse, and I already know that I am a country mouse. I want my quiet life in the boonies.

Conservatives are good at going to the out of the way places and making them awesome. For instance, AM radio was dead as FM took over the dial. Then, Rush and others found a home on AM radio as they talked about conservative politics. Most of the people who listen to talk radio are blue collar conservative types who spend a lot of time in their trucks or on the job site. Talk radio is their background. Contractors and small businesses love talk radio, and they advertise heavily on the medium. Similarly, on the internet, conservatives are awesome bloggers with Matt Drudge being the king of them all. Some may debate if Drudge is a blogger, but I think he is.

I think it helps to know your medium. The internet is not a single medium anymore than television or radio. You can subdivide it into different zones. Your blog, website, Facebook page, or Twitter account is your channel. I think if you do good stuff then people will end up at your channel. It may take awhile, but they will get to you. This is why you should forget the self-promotion thing. Just go with the word of mouth which is the best advertising money can't buy.


Social media is crack. Smartphones are the crack pipes for social media. We see people on their phones, but we don't ask what they are doing on those phones. Most of the time, they are on Facebook, Twitter, or some sort of chat app. Unlike email, these avenues can't wait especially when someone is wrong about something. They are always "live." Take a fifteen minute break from the social media, and you have lost the game. It goes on without you. This is why people remain permanently tethered and absorbed in their smartphones even in dangerous situations like behind the wheel.

There is a backlash beginning to swell in the culture against the smartphone. My advice is to ditch these phones and go back to the old school flip phone. Barring that option, the next best option is to delete social media apps from your phone. If you reduce a smartphone to a device for talk, text, email, and Google, its addictive nature is significantly reduced if not eliminated. A crack pipe becomes a piece of glass when there is no crack.

1.15.2018

MLK Day Reflections 2018


What Martin Luther King understood, and used with great effectiveness, was the fact that blacks and whites alike ultimately shared a common moral universe in this country.
THOMAS SOWELL

Each year on this day, I take time to reflect on race relations in America. In the past, I would paint as realistic a portrait as I could but was generally hopeful. This year, I am not so hopeful. Things are bad in this country as racial tensions have reached a pitch not seen since the 1960s. What happened?

Some reading this essay will answer the question sardonically. "Donald Trump is what happened," they say. I find that statement amazing. Dylann Roof walked into a black church in Charleston, SC, and killed nine people to try and achieve the sort of racial divisions we see with us now. Now, Dylann Roof is a racist. We know this because he says so. Donald Trump is not a racist. We know this because he definitely didn't kill 9 people but also because he says he isn't a racist. Yet, people insist that he is a racist.

We are at a weird moment in our history where racism is determined by others and not by you. I am not a racist. But I am white, a Southerner, a conservative, and a Republican. On the scorecard that cultural Marxists keep, this makes me a racist. But I can magically unbecome a racist merely by changing my party affiliation to Democrat. And that, Gentle Reader, is how Donald Trump became a racist. Despite decades of good relations and well wishing from the black community, Trump became a racist the moment he declared himself to be a Republican.

TRUMP: Tool of the black man.

Some will say that Trump has changed, but he hasn't changed. Looking back at clips of him over the years, he has always been a Republican. He praised Reagan and gave to Republican candidates. He has also not been a racist. There are too many black people who are friends with Trump for Trump to convincingly be a racist. If anything, his candor has made him especially beloved among the black community. Trump tells it like it is. This is in contrast to white Democrats who are two faced in their dealings with the black community. Going back to LBJ, the Democrat M.O. is to publicly love the black community while privately not giving a damn about them. This is how you get a city like Chicago where Democrats run City Hall while blacks fear for their lives each night.

Donald Trump is not a racist, but a lot of people would like it if he was. Some of those people are the alt right fringe racists who hate blacks and Jews and expect Trump to be racist and antisemitic like them. Yet, Trump makes a horrible Nazi with a daughter who married a Jew and converted to Judaism and has been the best US president in his relations with Israel. They love him so much over there that they want to name a street after him in Jerusalem.

You won't see this picture at the Nazi Party HQ.

The people that want desperately for Trump to be a racist are the left wing in this country. They hate this guy for being a conservative Republican. Hate overwhelms them. Their brains burn and smoke with hatred for the man. They sit ready to pounce on everything the man does and says in order to use it and whatever calumny they can generate in tearing down the man and his agenda. Consequently, this hatred is burning down news networks, newspapers, and the entertainment industry as these haters pile on each other to tear down Trump. Instead, they tear themselves down. The most potent and vivid example of this self-destructive hatred is the travesty of the kneelers in the NFL.

OPPRESSED MILLIONAIRES

These million dollar athletes who are paid enormous sums of money to move a football up and down the field have decided that they have had enough of being oppressed by the racist white society that has made them so rich. So, they disgrace the country, the National Football League, and themselves by taking a knee during the national anthem. What really drives them to this sickening display of contempt is their singular hatred of Donald Trump. Trump came out in support of the anthem and the flag against Colin Kaepernick, and this was enough for them to hate America. If Trump had come out on the side of oxygen, these fools would have stopped breathing, turned blue, and died.

What could Trump do differently? Nothing. He can't stop being white. He could probably stop being Republican, but that isn't likely to happen. And, it shouldn't happen. The Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln. Harriet Tubman and Booker T. Washington were Republicans. Martin Luther King, Sr. was a Republican. In regard to race, the Republican Party has changed little over the years sticking consistently to its principles. Over the same time period, the Democrat Party went from being the party of the KKK to being the party of Lyndon Baines Johnson who famously said, "I'll have those niggers voting Democrat for 200 years!" LBJ would refer to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as the "nigger bill." Johnson is so bad on these sorts of things that MSNBC said in a headline, "Lyndon Johnson was a civil rights hero. But also a racist."

LBJ: A good Democrat and a total racist
LBJ was and is the epitome of what the Democrat Party stands for today. Blacks, women, gays, immigrants, or whoever are really useful idiots that they play to win elections and advance their agenda. All you need is a little lip service and virtue signaling, and you have their vote and support even if they have to use the service entrance and sit in the "colored" section. The cynicism of these scoundrels is breathtaking. But it works. LBJ got it right. The next 200 years.

The Democrat Party hasn't changed a bit since LBJ. It amazes me how the left wing can gloss over the blatant flaws of their heroes. A great example is Woodrow Wilson who segregated the armed forces and the federal government. Wilson was a true friend to the KKK.

WOODROW WILSON: A progressive ahead of his time
The simple fact is that the Democrat Party was the party of racism while the Republican Party was the party of equality and justice. The other simple fact is that the Democrat Party is still the party of racism while the Republican Party is still the party of equality and justice. The difference is that the racism of the Democrats is now a stealth racism. They lie to black people to get their votes, but they hate them and hold them in the lowest regard. Somehow, this is preferred to the honesty of Donald Trump who really is a friend to the black community by bringing black unemployment down to its lowest levels since they began recording it.

Erased from the history books by the Democrats.

We know this closet racism lives on in the Democrat Party thanks to Uncle Joe Biden and his comments regarding Barack Obama. People forget that other black men ran for the Democrat Party's nomination. This would be Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. But Obama was different. Joe Biden said that Obama was "clean and articulate." Jesse Jackson called Obama an "Uncle Tom." That's pretty nasty stuff there. But the Biden comment nails what most white Democrats think of most black Democrats and the black community, in general.

Obama made this man his VP.

The irony of this brief history lesson is that Donald Trump is accused of the very things that the Democrats do. Psychologists call this "projection." It's where you see your flaws in others. So, the racists of the Left both black and white project racism on everything that Trump says and does because they are racists themselves. The Bible has a better word for it. It is called "hypocrisy."

This projection problem was most noticeable when Senator Tim Scott appeared with Donald Trump and other Republicans to celebrate the passage of the recent tax bill. Scott was the architect behind getting this passed in the Senate. Tim Scott is an awesome senator and way better than Lindsay Graham who is a RINO. I am proud that Scott represents my state, and the man does an outstanding job. Yet, the left wing "mainstream" media vilified Scott as a "tool" and an "Uncle Tom."

TIM SCOTT: The one guy in this bunch who gets it done on Capitol Hill.

Since all Republicans are automatically racist, the Left doesn't know what to do when one of those Republicans is black. It is ludicrous for a white liberal to call a black conservative a "racist." So, they use other derogatory terms as "Uncle Tom," "cooning," and "house negro." This is some sickening stuff.


There is special hatred for black conservatives in the black community. This is ironic when you question black Democrats on issues such as taxes, gun control, abortion, religious freedom, LGBT rights, and all the rest. The vast majority of black people that I talk to on these issues are overwhelmingly conservative. They especially hate that the civil rights movement has now been linked to the LGBT movement because they despise these perverts. These black Democrats also know that welfare, illegitimacy, and the breakdown of the black family are the biggest problems for the black community. These problems are largely self-inflicted. Yet, these conservatives continue to vote for Democrats. It really staggers the imagination.

To be a black conservative today is to invite the hatred and ridicule of people who should know better and actually do know better. I applaud great men like Larry Elder, Allen West, Tim Scott, Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, Sheriff Clark, and others who stand on principle instead of race and identity politics. What drives these black conservatives is a belief in God and country. They are Christians and patriots. Yet, the black community which has turned its back on God and country sees fit to heap derision on these conservatives who champion the things these hateful people know to be true and right.

Martin Luther King, Jr. changed this country. He helped to right a wrong. He did this by reminding white America that it had a conscience. By displaying Christlike charity, King reminded this country and the world that all people are deserving of dignity and equality. His revolution was a fundamentally Christian movement. I was reminded of this when Dylann Roof perpetrated his evil acts. Christians--black and white--came together to reject this young man's hatred. I was amazed that this Christian charity still exists, but there it was.


The Left is not Christian. It is Marxist. Philosophically, they reject the bonds of Christian charity in favor of the Hegelian dialectic. Charity wrecks the Marxist strategy since Marxists being the modern proponents of Hegelianism need alienated minorities to exploit for their agendas. It's not unlike the way certain pharmaceutical companies create an illness that doesn't exist in order to provide the cure they have. This is how you get young black men gunned down by each other on a nightly basis, but the big problem is racist cops even when those racist cops are black themselves and led by a black police chief answering to a Democrat mayor.


These race problems did not begin under Trump but under Barack Obama. A black president should have made things better for Black America. He didn't. He made them worse. This is because Obama was and remains a progressive pursuing this Hegelian strategy of the left wing. Unlike MLK, Obama is not a Christian. He may be a Muslim. He is certainly a Marxist. But he is certainly not a follower of Jesus Christ. Making Black America Great Again was never Obama's agenda. Consequently, blacks have never had it better than they do now under Trump, yet they burn with an anger that cannot be quenched. Somewhere, George Soros is having a nice laugh over this.


The key to improving the black community is the same key to improving the human race. This key is the Judeo-Christian ethic. King understood this. Would King still champion the same ethic today? I doubt it. It pains me to say that, but people need to remember that King was on a left wing mission to help garbage worker strikers in Memphis when he was gunned down. The civil rights thing was in the rear view mirror, and King had morphed into a social justice warrior demanding the sorts of things SJWs want today which amounts to a government check. This makes him a Marxist in my book.

The left wing agitates. Then, they exploit that agitation. Once upon a time, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others like him were Christians. Now, they are opportunists like Al Sharpton who smells racial conflict like a great white shark can smell the bleeding cut on a swimmer's leg. We no longer share a common moral universe. And this is the fundamental reason for the breakdown in race relations in this country. The USA has ceased to be a Christian nation and has moved into a post-Christian era of secularism, Marxism, and tribalism. Mahatma Gandhi was the inspiration for MLK's civil disobedience, and it is said that Gandhi thought the same method would have worked for the Jews in Nazi Germany. But this is laughable. The Nazis were not Christians at all. They had jettisoned such morals as weakness. Gandhi succeeded because the English were Christian. Similarly, MLK succeeded because Americans were Christian.


Today, Christianity is equated with racism. If this isn't a trick of the Devil, I don't know what is. I pray that people will see the falsehood in this lie, but I suspect they won't. What these race baiters don't understand is that a potent group of real racists exists in the wings ready to exploit the same agitation that the Left is creating. These racists are without conscience. No civil disobedience will dissuade them. They want to meet the violence of Black Lives Matter and Antifa with their own violence. This country will spiral down the toilet if a civil war between these two groups break out.

Where do we go from here? I think the words of Martin Luther King tell us what we need to know. "I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." When King said that, he got it right. Hate is always evil. We should hate no one, and that includes our enemies. Our country should not be about black or white. It should be about those who love and those who hate. Hatred is what is tearing this country down, and there is hatred on both sides. It needs to end, or it will end us.

1.07.2018

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects 58


I haven't spoken to my wife in years. I didn't want to interrupt her.
RODNEY DANGERFIELD

1. BANNON'S BETRAYAL

The Micahel Wolff book, Fire and Fury, is a piece of yellow journalism not seen in some time. Many are disavowing ever speaking to the author while others question Wolff's facts. Even the author himself does not stand by the veracity of the book which he wrote. As such, it can be dismissed except for one glaring fact. Steve Bannon said a lot of bad things about Trump and the Trump family in the book and has denied none of it. As I write this, Bannon has issued an apology for his contributions to the book.

The damage to Trump from this book will be minimal, but the damage to Steve Bannon is enormous. What was this guy thinking? The answer is that he wasn't thinking. Matt Drudge used the term "schizophrenic" to describe the man. With his public apology, I think Bannon will be forgiven. But will he ever be trusted again? Probably not.

Bannon had his hands full since the Roy Moore disaster in Alabama, but many are saying that he has written his own political epitaph with the quotations in Wolff's book. The bottom line is that you never give interviews to hostile left wing interviewers. You shouldn't waste your time with them at a minimum, and you should recognize the danger inherent in those interviews. Bannon is no dummy. He knew better.

Why did he do it? The answer is obvious. Steve Bannon is a self-promoter. Mark Levin made a great comment on his radio show. If you put the country and your principles first, you don't get caught in crap like Bannon did. Bannon puts himself first. That is obvious to the world now. The man with the unkempt appearance has a gigantic ego. Who knew?



The Atlantic reports that Donald Trump is not much of a reader preferring television and the spoken word to the written word. Somehow, this makes him a deficient commander-in-chief except for the fact that the most well read president, Bill Clinton, managed to read a voracious amount while also engaging in disgusting sex practices inside the Oval Office. If we are going to discuss personal habits of presidents, we might start with the most glaring deficiencies and work ourselves back. So far, the only glaring deficiencies in Donald Trump are an addiction to Diet Coke, Fox News, Twitter, and McDonald's fast food. Basically, he's a normal guy.

The real question deals with Trump's mental acuity. Is Donald Trump a genius? Looking back over the past year, I would have to say that the answer is yes. The man has a real gift for getting things done. You can't argue with success.

While other people read, Trump does things and wins. That's the bottom line. I don't want to knock on reading because I read a great deal, and I write. If reading made you a genius, Obama would have been the best president ever. Instead, he was the worst. It really matters what you're reading. I'd rather have a president that was illiterate than one that read crap. Obama was a reader of crap.


3. TIPS FOR WEBMASTERS AND WEB PAGE DESIGNERS

I hate annoying web pages. You know the ones I am talking about. You go to the webpage only to be hit by some annoying pop up or gizmo. Once you clear through that clutter, you try and read what you came to read except some other annoying clutter hits you again. Then, they do this trick with scrolling where the page isn't a page but something else. Web design has become nothing more than a series of bait-and-switch gimmicks with the attention span of readers. So, the readers respond with ad blockers or export to Instapaper to eliminate the clutter. Designers strike back with countermeasures for ad blockers as both sides race to the bottom in a ridiculous tit-for-tat war of attrition. The result is that people tune out your website.

Website design should be simple. It should not be cluttered and annoying. That is half the battle there. The Drudge Report knows this which is why it is so awesome. Learn the lesson designers. Don't abuse your audience. SIMPLIFY.

4. QUOTABLE QUOTES

Will-power. A very important quality. Don’t despise little things, for by the continual practice of denying yourself again and again in such things — which are never futile or trivial — with God’s grace you will add strength and resilience to your character. In that way you will first become master of yourself, and then a guide, a chief, a leader: to compel and to urge and to inspire others, with your word, with your example, with your knowledge and with your power.
SAINT JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race?
THOMAS SOWELL

As the soul is the life of the body, so God is the life of the soul. As therefore the body perishes when the soul leaves it, so the soul dies when God departs from it.
SAINT AUGUSTINE

The Devil tempts that he may ruin and destroy; God tests that He may crown.
SAINT AMBROSE

When I go into the house of one of these tasteless newly rich individuals, and see it bedecked with every imaginable hue, I know that this person possesses nothing more valuable than what is on display; such people decorate inanimate objects, but fail to beautify the soul.
SAINT BASIL THE GREAT

The business of the Christian is nothing else but to be ever preparing for death.
SAINT IRENAEUS

Do not be ashamed to enter again into the Church. Be ashamed when you sin. Do not be ashamed when you repent. Pay attention to what the devil did to you. These are two things: sin and repentance. Sin is a wound; repentance is a medicine. Just as there are for the body wounds and medicines, so for the soul are sins and repentance. However, sin has the shame and repentance possesses the courage.
SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

The world suffers nothing from Christians but hates them because they reject its pleasures.
SAINT JUSTIN MARTYR

Drive away, or do not allow thyself to be influenced by even the least breath of flattery and avoid the conversations which expose thee to it; for such deceitful pleasure darkens the light and perverts the unsuspecting mind.
VENERABLE MARY OF AGREDA

Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. The gift of grace increases as the struggles increase.
SAINT ROSE OF LIMA

5. ODDS AND ENDS

--NFL ratings continue to slide. Maybe people are praying the rosary on Sunday after church.

--I haven't even started on trying to keep my resolutions for the New Year.

--That fire at the Clinton compound in Chappaqua appears to be a non-story. Of course, a lot of fake news went out about destroyed servers and all the rest. The reality is Bill and Hillary probably destroyed those servers long ago. We may never know.

--Al Gore shredded the last shred of his utterly shredded credibility when he claimed that this record cold snap we are experiencing is evidence of global warming. That guy never quits. All I can say while I am shivering here is that global warming sounds like an awesome idea, and I am all for it.

--The Bitcoin bubble will pop any minute now. The stock market bubble may pop any day now. But the economy will be great thanks to Donald Trump.

--The Last Jedi is tanking at the box office. Most of the ticket sales came from the hopeful and unsuspecting in the first weekend. Now, the word of mouth is killing this turkey of a film. Let the past die.

--Mueller shows how ridiculous he is now that he wants to question Ivanka over an elevator ride with those Russians. Someone really needs to fire this clown.

--I was interested in the Roseanne reboot until I heard about the cross dressing 9-year-old. If this is some transgender left wing nonsense, you can expect Roseanne to go the way of the NFL and The Last Jedi. Count me out.

--It would not surprise me if they had Han and Lando get gay with each other in the Star Wars Solo movie they have in the pipeline. Let the past die with a vengeance!

--If you haven't cut the cord on your cable, do it today. You won't regret it.

--GOOD NEWS! There are zero sexual harassment complaints involving the staff of Charlie's Blog. I will not be firing myself anytime soon either. And I am still working for free.

6. LINKS OF INTEREST

Pray, Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The Decline and Fall of “The Andy Griffith Show”

The Edge of Chaos

“The Last Jedi” and the End of Heroism

Coming Home: Why Conservatism Appeals to Young People

The Achievement of Russell Kirk

Can We Have a Happy New Year?

My New Year’s Resolution: Keep Sundays Internet-Free

PRINT--Finding Ultra by Rich Roll


At that moment, I honestly didn’t believe that I was physically or mentally able to run a marathon. But the only way out was through.
RICH ROLL

When you see a picture of Rich Roll for the first time or see him in ridiculously good shape like on the cover of Finding Ultra, you might be lead to believe that this is a guy who has it all figured out. Then, you begin to read the book, and you learn that Rich Roll is a man that survived a train wreck of a life. What seems like a book about self-improvement is actually a book about escaping self-destruction.

Rich Roll has a messy biography. He showed early promise in life when he excelled academically and athletically in high school. Yet, even that has the glaring flaw as Rich was one of those guys cursed with a lazy eye. You can see it today in some of his pictures that Rich's eyes don't quite line up. It's not a big deal, but that flaw humanizes Rich. You end up liking the guy because he is an underdog in life.

Rich's life was doing well when he went off to Stanford to study and swim. He had excellent grades and was phenomenal in the pool. But then, he started drinking, and this drinking would be his undoing. He would go on to law school and begin a legal career, but the drinking would demonize him along the way. He wrecked his car while driving under the influence. Finally, he was the subject of an intervention from a workplace that was way more understanding than they had to be. Rich would go on to rehab and dry out and sober up.

The 12-Step world is one that continues to inform Rich to this day. If you listen to his podcasts, many of his guests had their own substance abuse problems, and Rich talks to them in a way that hosts who never struggled with these issues probably couldn't. Once again, this humanizes Rich. You like the guy, and you root for him.


Rich would have a failed relationship that ended in a very short lived marriage. But this worked to the good for Rich as he would meet Julie Piatt who deserves a large share of the credit for helping Rich radically improve his life. She didn't preach at him, but she would prove instrumental in helping Rich become healthier and happier.

Rich overcame drinking, but he was a fat slob eating hamburgers and living a sedentary lifestyle. His come to Jesus moment was when he became winded trying to climb a flight of stairs. He was 39. He knew he needed to change, so Julie put him on a juice detox cleanse that dramatically improved his health. Feeling great, Rich became a vegan and remains one to this day. This is why I wanted to read his book because I find inspiration from people living a plant based lifestyle.

Rich found a lot of energy from going vegan, so he put that energy into athletic endeavors. He became a triathlete and has completed the Ultraman triathlon and an ad hoc event called EPIC5 that is basically 5 Ironman triathlons back-to-back. The bottom line is that Rich Roll is incredibly fit at an age when most men prefer the golf course to swimming laps in the pool or doing century rides on the bike.

I enjoyed this book until I got to the back part which is very wonky stuff concerning diet and training. I recommend the book for inspiration if you are someone who really wants to change your life. I also suggest that you listen in to Rich's podcasts at richroll.com. They are some of my favorite listening.

1.01.2018

Reflections on a New Year 2018


When you look back on your life, which seems to have been marked by no great efforts or achievements, think how much time you have wasted, and how you can recover it with penance and greater self-giving.
SAINT JOSEMARIA ESCRIVA

2017 is done and in the books. Here's a quick review. Donald Trump became president, and he has had one awesome year. There's really nothing much more than I can say about the year except that. Is Trump perfect? Heck no. But Reagan wasn't perfect either, and I am grateful that Reagan was president back then. One year in, things are much better than they were for the entire eight years of Obama. I think 2018 will also be awesome. Trump still has a lot left on his To Do list.

On the personal side of things, I am not so proud of 2017. I don't feel that it was a real year of accomplishment for me. I am still not a saint, and I have a lot to work on in that department. My besetting sin has been and continues to be laziness. That is something that I intend to work on in 2018. I'll have more on that in a minute.

The personal crisis that I have been having for the last year has been an internal tug of war over whether to continue being a writer or to give it all up. The belief is that giving up the literary endeavors will turn all that free time into productive work. The reality is that it just turns into boredom alleviated by reading. I write in lieu of hunting, fishing, and playing golf. I don't do any of those things which all amounts to spending a lot of time sitting outside instead of sitting inside in front of a keyboard. I am always bashing on those three things because they tend to be the hobbies of choice among the menfolk where I live. Generally, they pursue all three things with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, an RV, and a Corvette to finish out the package that I consider a waste of life. At the most basic level, writing has saved me a great deal of money that I would be blowing on adult toys. Writing like body weight exercises and long walks is free. Granted, having a computer and internet access helps, but I have used nothing but paper and pen when I needed to. Writing is cheap.


When I think about writing, I always have a picture of Ernest Hemingway in my head. I always imagine that Stephen King has H.P. Lovecraft in his head when he is banging out those novels. For me, it is Hemingway. Hemingway is not my favorite, but I like the fact that he brought a certain manliness to the craft. This is to be put into opposition to Truman Capote who I actually like as a writer but was an effeminate homosexual. Capote was not manly.


Both men had their demons and abused substances. I keep them in my brain as the north and south pole of writing. I strive to be Hemingway. Writing should be a manly endeavor. It should be a part of a life lived in a rugged way. Of course, Hemingway was a blowhard and a drunk which are two things I endeavor to avoid at all costs. But Hemingway shows to me that writing is not a waste of time or life. It is worth doing if for no other reason than it makes more out of a life that would be nothing but bullfights, tarpon fishing, and drinking.

I am a writer, and I need to make peace with that fact of life. My problem is that I make writing the scapegoat for all my failures in the rest of my life. If I could quit that useless hobby, I could make more money, get in shape, and maybe know Swahili. I don't know. What I know is that not writing does not magically make my life more productive and better.

The corollary to the writing thing has been the social media thing. I think Facebook is an unmitigated waste of time, and I do not use the service. But I find Twitter useful even if it is addicting. Virtually every writer, pundit, and blogger I follow uses Twitter. When I quit Twitter, the draw back to the service comes when one of these folks references Twitter or posts things on the service that I have to check out. Then, there is Donald Trump with the most famous and useful Twitter account of all time.

The other social media service I like is GAB. GAB is what Twitter used to be. GAB is freedom. I can post a link on Twitter, and it is virtually ignored. Yet, that same link on GAB gains a great deal of attention. Twitter is controlling and censoring its content, and I suspect that I have been shadowbanned. My experience on GAB is much more satisfying, and I can see it supplanting Twitter in the future. As for now, I use both.

Writing, tweeting, and gabbing eat time. Of course, everything eats time like going to Mass, reading the Bible, praying the rosary, sleeping, working, and what have you. Life really comes down to the choices you make with the time you've got. As H.L. Mencken famously quipped, “It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf.” The point being that we are the product of what we do with our time.

I am currently working on a self-help book where I tackle head on this issue of time, habits, and the rest. I generally despise self-help books being reminded of that ridiculous self-improvement list in The Great Gatsby. But I do want to improve myself, and I don't see why that it is necessarily a bad thing. It is a new year, and we make those inevitable resolutions towards self-improvement. The failures in that department make the whole affair seem like a joke. And this failure is what has prompted me to write the book that I am writing. I want to figure out the problem, and writing is my way of thinking on a problem.

With the time thing, I think people are pulled between two poles in that department as well. People aspire to and are informed by the Renaissance Ideal. Think of Leonardo da Vinci or a polyglot polymath mathematician millionaire like Nassim Nicholas Taleb. These men were/are accomplished in many endeavors. It would be impressive except virtually none of them was encumbered with a 9 to 5 job. For Taleb, his pursuit of wealth seems to be for no other greater purpose than to free up the leisure needed to pursue his studies. For the Renaissance men of the past, they usually had a wealthy patron that kept them fed and clothed. If you find yourself just an average guy, don't feel bad about it. You didn't have the time to learn seven languages and earn three doctorates and sculpt the Pieta and climb Everest. You had to work and pay the bills.


The modern advocate of the Renaissance man would be Tim Ferriss. It is hard to read or listen to Tim Ferriss because you can't decide if he is an accomplished individual or a flim-flam man. I won't debate the question here, but I can say that he advocates a very ambitious Renaissance ideal way of living. The problem is that you still have to pay the bills which is how you get a book like The 4-Hour Workweek. Basically, Ferriss has a collection of tricks and gimmicks to allow you to make money and also live a leisured existence to pursue the things you are really passionate about. I have read the book, and I think it is a load of crap.


You can't be a Renaissance Man and work a 9 to 5 job. It just isn't possible. Once you accept that fact of life, you end up feeling relief as you step off that treadmill of ambition. This is where Leo Babauta comes into the picture. Unlike Tim Ferriss with his ambitions and flim-flam gimmicks, Leo eschews ambitions and stresses simplicity. Instead, you should focus on a few goals like quitting cigarettes, getting out of debt, or losing weight. With a laser like focus on modest goals, you can achieve those goals pretty easily. And his methods work. Leo's Zen Habits blog has been very popular and has helped a lot of people achieve their goals. I would endorse Leo's methods except that I have watched ZH become the most boring blog on the internet. I have grown tired of being told to "breathe" and "wash my bowl." The irony of Leo Babauta is that he has freed himself from the 9 to 5 job he once had but has nothing to fill that time with except traveling and practicing Zen Buddhism or whatever. The result is that he has become a bum with a blog.

It doesn't matter if you pursue the maximalist ambition of a Tim Ferriss or the the minimalist simplicity of a Leo Babauta. Both of those guys have one thing in common. They ain't working for a living which is the story for 99% of the rest of us. Leo and Tim are bums. I'm sorry, but it has to be said.

So much self-help advice makes working a job the enemy of a successful life. Naturally, I reject that. I think laziness is the enemy of a successful life not work. And this is why so much self-help advice sounds like flim-flam. These gurus tend to be people who are good at getting out of working and finding ways to get paid to play. This gets re-labeled as "following your passion." But it amounts to getting paid to play.

I think the correct path is a blend of these two approaches that embraces work instead of trying to escape it through tricks and gimmicks. I think you have to combine simplicity and hard work. This path is gritty and not glamorous. The belief is that there are just a few things in life worth your time and effort, and it takes a lot of work to make progress in those things. Basically, you should eschew ambition and gimmicks and put on your hard hat and get to work.

"Get It Done" has become a personal mantra for me. I credit Larry the Cable Guy and his "Git-R-Done!" catchphrase as inspiration. Larry plays a blue collar guy though this is just an act. But we toss out the catchphrase at my work because it just sums up what working is all about. While the managers waste time talking about it, we blue collar guys just go and get it done. People spend more time thinking and talking instead of doing. "Get It Done" means that the time for thinking and talking has ended, and the time for working has begun.

I find that so many issues in life are not from a lack of inspiration but from a lack of perspiration. The reason Beethoven and Goethe were so excellent at what they did is because they worked at it. And they didn't waste time playing. I can tell you now that you will not get Faust or the Fifth Symphony from either Tim Ferriss or Leo Babauta. You won't get that stuff from me either.

My model for living are the quiet years of Jesus Christ before He began his public ministry. Jesus was a carpenter. He was blue collar. His father, Saint Joseph, was the same way. They weren't Renaissance Men. They just worked hard and lived morally superior lives. They combined hard work and simplicity. Later on, St. Paul the Apostle would do awesome things in spreading the Gospel like no missionary of his time or since. Yet, he wrote much of the New Testament, started many churches, and made a living as a tent maker. St. Paul was totally blue collar. He just worked hard and was able to do so being free of family obligations.

The goal in personal development is to strive to turn time into work. The goals may vary from person-to-person, but the way remains the same. Take the time you have and turn it into work. This is why I write. Despite working a job, I still end up with free time, and writing is a way for me to turn my free time into work. As such, it is a worthwhile endeavor in comparison to watching ball games. It probably isn't as profitable as driving for Uber or Lyft during that time, but I don't care to risk getting shot playing taxi cab driver. So, I write.

In 2017, I decided to avail myself of an opportunity to make money by simply working more. That simple decision paid off. I put in more hours and eschewed vacation. The result is that I have more money in the bank than I did in 2016. To put it simply, I worked more. No secrets. No gimmicks. I just put in the hours.

In 2018, I am going to work more on all my projects and not just my job. That is my only resolution from this year which is an expansion of the one I made last year. I am going to work more, play less, and GET IT DONE. Even if I fail, my failure won't be because of laziness. I can accept failure on many terms, but to fail as a consequence of being slack and lazy leaves a trace of bitterness like nothing else.