The Colonel In His Garden Part Two

Mid-Autumn Garden.

It’s a wet Columbus Day.  Tropical Depression Nate passed through Pennsylvania this morning on its way the New England.  The Garden is full of surprises.

A better gardener than I would have everything pulled up and covered by now, but I can’t bring myself to do it just yet.

The Marigolds remain in brilliant bloom.  They have grown so resilient the wild Morning Glories have twisted themselves around their stems, using them as trellises.

Marigolds and Morning Glories |

The Creator has his schedule.  Clearly.

We put a trellis at the end of the pumpkin patch two years ago, but it proved far too delicate for the Morning Glories we planted that year.  Perhaps I’ll put up a sturdier structure for them in the Spring.

Marigolds and Morning Glories |

Meanwhile, the purple blooms mix with orange and yellow.

Fall is here, to be sure.  The leaves have turned.  But the blossoms of Summer are stubborn this year.  We should be done with this now.  But we’re not.  I’m strangely OK with all this.

A walk through the dewey grass reveals a pair of min-Pumpkins among the otherwise dead vines.

Late Mini Pumpkins |

Late Mini Pumpkins |

On the other side of the patch, one of the Marigolds grew into a veritable bush.  These plants make for an effective insect repellent.  We’ve had no problems with Japanese Beatles this year.  Marigolds produce a chemical called Pyrethrum, an ingredient found in many insect repellents, and they have a unique aroma which bugs find repulsive.

Marigold "Bush" |

Upon the fence separating the squash from the rest of the vegetable beds, another wild Morning Glory vine tenaciously spreads itself out.

Wild Morning Glories |

Between the toolshed and the burn barrel is another surprise.  Readers here will recall this wild Pumpkin vine spreading all Summer yet producing nothing.  Two weeks ago a female blossom appeared.  The pollinating bees did the rest.Wild Pumpkin |

Gardening tips for the fall?  When the Marigolds come up, make sure to cut off the heads and dry them out.  This will make seed extraction for next year a breeze.


Posted in Hearth and Altar | Leave a comment

Life Is A Highway – Reflections On Las Vegas

Life really is a highway – here’s why.

It only takes one. One guy to screw things up.  Because life is a highway.  Great when it functions as designed.  Beyond aggravating when it doesn’t.

Consider the following: A mousetrap has only five parts. The mechanism requires a board, a spring, a retaining clip, a retaining bar, and a hammer. Remove just one part and you have junk. Spare me the “designs” going around the internet that allegedly show a mousetrap being reduced to three, two, or even one part. No one has ever produced a working model.

The horrific October 1st incident in Las Vegas should cause all of us to reflect on the precarious nature of our civilization.

Counting on each other… because life is a highway…

Think about how much we all depend on each other to follow the rules. Self-enforcement is what keeps everything running smoothly.

It just takes one guy driving too fast, misjudging distance, or failing to maintain his vehicle to cause system failure. And now everyone’s commute is jacked up.

Traffic Jam |

It just takes one guy…

Granted at the end of the line, there are men with guns. Of course, most of us don’t get that far, because most of us have explicit and implied agreements with each other. These agreements are the lubrication for civilization’s machinery.

But what happens when one of us decides to disregard these agreements? For example, what if your neighbor decides to stop paying his school and property taxes? At first, notices from the township will appear in his mailbox. The notices will be followed by phone calls and possibly visits from local officials. If the situation persists, the Sheriff’s office will issues summonses and eviction notices. Finally, the township will remove property rights, and men with guns will appear on the premises to remove the occupant. One way or another. Because at the end of every law, no matter how seemingly trivial, there is a man with a gun.

But there are never enough men with guns.  That’s what makes those agreements with each other so important.  Because life is a highway, and keeping all the lanes open is vital.  A sociologist once told me that the rules change when enough people start breaking them.

That is why we wait for the green light…

That’s why we count on our social contract. I do not mean the contract between the citizen and the state. I mean the contract we make and keep among ourselves.

Stephen Paddock, however one wants to label him – lone wolf, undiagnosed schizophrenic, or ISIS dupe – clearly did not keep his agreements with the rest of us. The resulting chaos in the aftermath is one part of the story.

Another part is the enormous resources diverted to deal with the incident he created. There was of course the mobilization of Federal, State, and local law enforcement. There was the additional mobilization of emergency service workers, and health care personnel. Additional expenses in fuel, healthcare supplies, and medicine incurred. Other considerations are the payouts by insurance companies, and inevitable increases in premiums.

Actuaries and security experts will get involved, because now security procedures have to be re-examined. New security measures will be put into place costing time and money. The public at large – taxpayers and customers – most of whom will never pose a threat to anyone else’s safety will bear the additional costs.

Funeral expenses, while inevitable, will be born far too early, often by parents tragically outliving their children.

Premature Grief. The most horrific expense of all.


Posted in Current Events and Politics, Hearth and Altar | Leave a comment

The NFL Controversy – To Knee Or Not To Knee

First, The President.

Donald Trump will continue to do what got him here. Internalize this simple principle, and one need never be puzzled y his behavior again. This explains everything he says and does, and it explains why he inserts himself into the issues of the day, including the NFL controversy.

Going into last weekend, Trump, in his often used cringe-inducing terms waded in on the National Anthem/NFL debate. And naturally, the Deranged Left (redundant, I know) reacted with its usual restraint after a period of quiet self-reflection and contemplation.

The Left Reacts

Leftist reaction to… oh, everything…

Let’s go back and review how this came into the National Conversation. On August 26th, 2016 the San Francisco 49er’s met the Green Bay Packers in a Pre-season contest. During the playing of the National Anthem, the 49er’s 3rd String Quarterback chose to remain seated. Two weeks later the National Press, ever in search for controversy, began to take notice.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” – Colin Kaepernick

I have absolutely no problem with this statement. This may surprise some who know me. Is the above statement by Kaepernick hyperbolic? Of course it is. But the National Discourse is full of over-the-top hyperbole.  Anyone remember our previous president telling his critics to get in the “back of the bus?”

The NFL Controversy & The State Of Our Dis-Union.

The current President clearly has his own way of doing things and it sure isn’t your way or my way. I don’t like that Trump inserted himself into this debate. I absolutely don’t appreciate that the Commander-in-Chief called for the firing of any who do not adhere to his views. I don’t like when the Left does it, though I will allow that Trump clearly does not take the same psychotic glee. Still, I don’t like to see it done for political reasons by anyone.

Some commentators have gone on record that the president should not have inserted himself into this. At least one talking head argued that the NFL is a private organization. Except that it’s not.  The NFL abandoned that ground  when the organization’s owners ask for and accepted billions of dollars in taxpayer funds to build their cathedrals.

This will not have the intended effect; the reasons overlap.

1. They’re Stupid.

The players taking a knee or sitting down for the National Anthem are stupid. Functional human beings are not going listen while being lectured to by demonstrably stupid people. Coming up with $100 to purchase a ticket often requires the purchaser to not only have a job, but to actually make rational decisions with respect to his or her disposable income. NFL players on the other hand, have an 80% chance of ending up broke.  So, if you can’t get your own house in order, the second metric in morality after the Fear of God, spare me any lectures.  On any topic.

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man spendeth it up. – Proverbs 21:20

Even God says they’re stupid. The average NFL career is only 2.5 years. The median income during this brief stint is $750,000 per year. Such a sum is enough to start a small business. Or sock away into an annuity. But they won’t. Because they’re stupid.

2. No Respect For The People Who Pay Them.

As the Social Justice fad creeps it’s way through corporate America, the gap between the customers and corporate policy makers grows wider. Twenty years ago, Rush Limbaugh came up with words to the effect that the News Media is the only business where the customer is not only always wrong, but also an idiot. This more than any other reason outside technical innovation is why Network News lost their dominance.

The NFL under commissioner Pete Roselle built one of the most dominant business models in history. Today, this model is undergoing a transition similar to Network News of the 1990s that may very cause the end of its dominance. If you continue to insult your customers, please spare me your apoplexy when they leave you.

3. The Message Is Incoherent.

Ask each of the 200 players that knelt during the Anthem last Sunday why they did it and you will get a plethora of answers, many of them having nothing to do with Kaepernick’s original reason of racial injustice. If a protest is confusing, it has failed.  This is what makes the NFL Controversy so inane.

NY Jets

September 24, 2017. NY Jets link arms during the National Anthem as show of “unity”… or something. Getty Images.

And since the reasons behind the player’s protests are defined by their incoherence, they are insidiously open-ended. When do the protests stop? When all incidents of police misconduct come to an end? Who gets to decide the definition of police brutality?

On balance, the Unites States is a force for good in the world. This is self-evident. The United States also has its share of problems. What nation does not?

I’m not saying that taking a knee during the National Anthem is wrong, I’m just explaining why it’s failing.

Sports served to bring us together. The ancient Greek city-states famously suspended hostilities to hold their Olympic games.  May be we, as a nation should suspend hostilities.

For decades, professional sports was able to transcend bigotry, affirmative action, and politics. Professional sports credibly asserted itself as the ultimate meritocracy. Only the best got to play. Successful coaches kept their jobs. Unsuccessful coaches did not. Ability superseded connections, and ability was based on clear metrics.  You either won, or you didn’t.

Sports were not politicized in the conventional sense. Now those days – perhaps delusional – are sadly behind us.

4. The Market will have the final say.

I didn’t make that rule. The Almighty did. Cecille B. DeMille is generally credited with saying “It is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves against the law.” The Law of Economics determines who lives and who dies.

Entertainment dollars take up a tiny, and I mean tiny portion of what the average person spends. When people are in the mood to be entertained, it means they don’t want to spend time in the classroom. Refer to reason #2. That’s why movie sales are down. That’s why CNN’s ratings are in the tank. The recent broadcast of the Emmy’s? I wonder if you even knew they were on. I expect sales of the new X-box do better than previous projections partly for these very reasons.

5. The NFL has no moral authority.


A Candid Discussion On Race. Because we don’t talk about it enough.

Whenever I hear, “we have to have an honest conversation,” it inevitably means that someone wants me to engage in self-flagellation. That will never happen. I will on the other hand, will make some candid observations.

Of all the demographics in the United States, no one is going to argue the fact that those descended from Sub-Saharan Africa were screwed over the most. Not the Irish, not the Italians, and certainly not America’s newest crush, the Middle Easterners.

The overwhelming number of African Americans descended from prisoners of war sold into slavery by the victorious tribes. That’s a pretty rough start. Then, after generations of enslavement, and after a protracted war they received no payment, no “40 acres and a mule.” Any serious talk of reparations died with the .44 caliber bullet entering the back of Lincoln’s head. Andrew Johnson (D), Lincoln’s Vice-President and successor countermanded the reparations order issued by General Sherman in his capacity as military governor in 1865. To my knowledge, it was never again seriously discussed in any of our state or national legislatures.

It took nearly 100 years, but by the 1950s, Americans of African decent were the single most upwardly mobile demographic in the Unites States. Then the Federal Government stepped in and tried to be “helpful.”

A Hero Defined.

To call what happened to the black family during the decades that followed “catastrophic” would be an understatement. Let me add that there are few things that impress me more than a black man in the home raising his family. Why? Because that man has resisted every effort and incentive of the Deep State to expel him from his home and separate him from his children. That takes herculean strength. It takes a wife of proven moral caliber because she has to resist every incentive thrown at her to cooperate in expelling her husband from their home.  It takes a degree of strength which quite frankly, I don’t know if I would have been able to resist had the Deep State marshaled it’s considerable resources against me.

The First Definition Of Insanity.

What does bear mentioning here is The Left’s insistence on taking the non-strategic approach to the racial problems in America. The reason of course is simple. The Left has a vested interest in not improving race relations, particularly in the public square.

For now, it should suffice that the concession to the existence of “leaders” for any demographic is the single biggest insult one can ever bestow on anyone. That “Community Organizing” was or is actually a thing is just one more item on a long list of damaging factors that Americans of African descent have to deal with today.

Asserting that it’s better for them here than “over there” is unhelpful. Every person of African descent living in the United States understands that in spite of it all, they won the ‘Location on Earth’ lottery. Never the less, significant problems exist, and kicking the can down the road for the next generation is as irresponsible as pretending that a $20 trillion national debt doesn’t exist.

Random Observations.

It’s remarkable how many owners are choosing to side with the media, the players, and the league instead of that which support the entire system: the fans.  I remember back in the eighties when the biggest NFL Controversy was a player wearing a name-brand headband on the sidelines.  I’d like to get back to that.

Race matters.  Yes, I’m willing to have that “conversation,” but the fellas on the sidelines would do themselves a lot more good by “taking a knee” in Church during the off-season.

The Ancient Greek city-states suspended wars during sporting events.  We might consider doing the same.

Posted in Current Events and Politics | 2 Comments

Greetings, Blessings, & Words No One Uses Anymore, Part I

The Greeting…

Words have meaning, even words we don’t use.  Sometimes several events tend to amalgamate into a single memory. I’m standing in the living room of my in-law’s home. It’s time to go. Tomorrow, Lois and I are going to dinner with friends. Or to a Church social. Or something very similar. People that my in-laws know are going to be there. Maybe it’s the Holiday Season or close to it.

Greetings |

Continue reading

Posted in Hearth and Altar | 2 Comments

North Korea – The Problem That Won’t Go Away.

North Korea – Is There A Solution?

The Unites States Government continues to deal with North Korea from a Western Paradigm  based on the Post World War II model.  It’s time to stop.

North Korea Missile Test |

Coming to a city near you.

From The Washington Post 9/14/17.

Continue reading

Posted in Current Events and Politics, History | 3 Comments

Fall Foliage and A Pleasant Ride Home

Fall Foliage – It’s Coming.

The best time to see the fall foliage in Pennsylvania will in 2 -3 weeks.  But it’s starting.  The colors of Summer are still with us, but you can see a hint.

Then this came on the radio:

Giuseppe Torelli – Concerto in A Major for Guitar & Violin.

Western Civilization: There Is No Substitute.

It has given the world Calculus, Relativity, Thermo Dynamics, Radio Astronomy, Indoor Plumbing, The Combustion Engine, Air Travel, that ridiculously useful Smart Phone, and oh, Giuseppe Torelli.  I know nothing of Torelli other than he composed some magnificent works and that you can find him on Youtube.  That, and centuries after his death, he gave me a pleasant ride home this afternoon.

The crisp snap of Autumn isn’t here yet.  But I’ve learned to enjoy the season I’m in.  The garden continues to produce and will probably do so for another two weeks.

Meanwhile, a glimpse of things to come.

Leaf Mid-September Pennsylvania |

Maple Leaf, Mid-September Pennsylvania

Fall in the Lehigh Valley is something everyone should experience.  If you can’t get out here this year, put it on your bucket list.



Posted in Hearth and Altar | Leave a comment

My View On Today’s Worship Music

Worship Leading – good?  Not so good?  Do we want to go back to something else, and if so, how far back?

This week my wife tagged me on what has to be one of the most awkward worship videos ever. My response? This has to be the best argument in favor of putting every worship team in gray cowl robes and having them chant in Latin.


Seriously, would that be so awful?  Yeah, I know. This is the 21st century, and Latin is a dead language.

Continue reading

Posted in Hearth and Altar, Music, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Kitchen Garden Journal 9/2/17

Late Summer Kitchen Garden

It’s September.  This morning there was a coolness in the air presaging a pleasant Fall.    I can wait for the crisp snap of the Autumn morning.  I’ve come to learn the importance of enjoying the season I’m in.  The green remains, though one or two trees are shedding the occasional leaf.  Then there’s the kitchen garden.

Pickled Cucumbers From The Kitchen Garden |

The garden remains productive.  The zucchini has been a pleasant surprise and the tomatoes have ripened on the vine.  The marinara sauce should last into Thanksgiving.

This weekend’s project? Pickling the cucumbers.  It’s an experiment.  We only planted one vine, so we’ll see.

Vinegar, some pepper corns, salt, sugar, garlic and a little dill weed.  Check back next week and I’ll let you know.  How it turns out.

In the meantime, here is today’s harvest.

Morning Harvest From The Kitchen Garden 9-2-17 |




Posted in Hearth and Altar | Leave a comment

Here’s My Take On The Confederate Monument Controversy

Monuments And Those Who Are Triggered

This may surprise some of the people who know me. With respect to monuments, I don’t have a dog in the fight.

So here is my take on the confederate monument controversy.  The existence and maintenance of monuments requires that enough people are willing to devote adequate resources. Those resources are, as they have always been, Time, and Labor. Those familiar with economics Continue reading

Posted in Current Events and Politics, Defining Western Civilization, Taxes | 9 Comments

The Colonel In His Garden

I venture out into the early morning stillness.  The fog lifts with the rising sun.  I pick my way carefully over the lawn, it’s blades still wet.    I am here to prune, to pick, to breathe. The Victorians called it “taking the air,” I think.  It’s August, and the kitchen garden has changed over from Spring to late Summer.Kitchen Garden Gate |

Continue reading

Posted in Hearth and Altar | 3 Comments