Mining the Benedict Option for Practical Advice – Part 1

As I mentioned I’m seriously interested in starting some kind of local organization to allow me to impact the community around me. But other than hot air of, which I possess an abundance, I was short on practical know-how.   I started re-reading Rod Dreher’s,”The Benedict Option,” and I think it will be useful.  I previously reviewed it last year.

A Short Book Review of Rod Dreher’s – The Benedict Option – Part 2

But now I’m looking at it more as a handbook, so it will take a good deal more time to weigh the information to decide what is helpful to me.   At this point, at the very least it has given me a number of resources for researching directions to go.  If anyone else is looking for ways to build alternative social platforms I recommend that you take a look at Dreher’s book. There are definitely some useful starting points at the very least.  And even if your position is non-religious there are things to think about in this book.

 

 

Media Acknowledging Justice Bader-Ginsberg May Not Remain on Supreme Court Much Longer

News sites on both sides of the political divide had articles today acknowledging that Justice Bader-Ginsberg may not necessarily still be around in five years as she plans.  What that tells me is that both sides are preparing their members for the eventuality of another extremely heated, partisan battle over the nominee to replace her on the bench.

When news of her cancer surgery made the news, I stated the opinion that she would not stay on the bench past President Trump’s first term.  I guess that I’m not alone in that opinion.  One of the articles made a point of the fact that on multiple occasions Justice Bader-Ginsberg stated that she wouldn’t continue serving past the point where she can’t “do the job full steam.”  The implication being since right now she is at least partially incapacitated her retirement may be imminent.  In my opinion her retirement in the next few weeks is highly unlikely.  I’m sure the Justice will hold on as long as she has any hope of recovering from this episode.  And I fully expect she will recover from it.  She has shown resiliency through her two previous bouts with cancer.  But the fact that she will not be receiving chemotherapy makes me think that the metastatic nature of her cancer is assumed and that unfortunately she will soon be diagnosed with at least one other new tumor.  If she has a life outside of the Law, I would hope at that point that she would resign to enjoy her remaining time with her loved ones.  If she does not then perhaps, she intends to cling to the job to till the bitter end.  But honestly, I don’t imagine she will last two years.  That is a long time.

If I am correct, then President Trump will be able to appoint at least one more Supreme Court Justice.  Even assuming Chief Justice Robert’s lapses into left-leaning decisions it would seem that a solid 6-3 conservative majority will begin to make some significant changes in the way Americans live.  Another shot at the LGBTQ penchant for persecuting Christian business people may be the first significant loss for the Social Justice Warriors in their war against normalcy.  Another useful front would be slapping down some of the overreach that liberal states have been legislating against gun ownership.  One of my friends was complaining how Massachusetts can basically call anything they want an assault rifle and then retroactively make it illegal to own.  Another was saying that one state has made liability insurance mandatory for gun owners and the insurance is very expensive.  That definitely should be checked for constitutionality.

Both because of the strength of a 6-3 ratio and the emotional response of Justice Bader-Ginsberg’s replacement I assume we can expect that the nomination approval process will be even worse than Kavanaugh’s was.  They’ll pull out all the stops and attack with every trick and scream from every media megaphone at their disposal.  Good.  With the enhanced Senate majority, it should be easier this time to get the approval than it was with Kavanaugh.  Well, here we go again.

09JAN2019 – OCF Update

Looking ahead this week I’m rereading Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option” to see if there are any insights to help me with my investigation into founding a new fraternal organization.  I remember he had information on structuring family, school and community activities around a religious life.  I don’t remember too much about fraternal organizations but maybe there are some general principles about setting up groups that I can ferret out.

I’ve been waiting for the next installment of Galaxy’s Edge to show up but I’m getting impatient and will look around for something else to review.

I may have a post on the land rush by the major (and minor) camera makers to join the full-frame mirrorless market.  Sony, Nikon, Canon, and now Olympus and possibly Panasonic and Fuji.  I guess sony wasn’t crazy after all.

And finally we all want to know who will blink first Trump or the Swamp.  Stay tuned American patriots.

I’m the Bad Guy?  How Did That Happen?

In a recent post I said that the current revolt on the Right could be described as the Falling Down Revolt.  This references the 1993 movie, “Falling Down,” that starred Michael Douglas as a divorced, recently laid off defense industry engineer, named William Foster, who, while stopped on the Los Angeles freeway on a sweltering hot day discovers he has reached the end of his rope.  He leaves his car in the middle of traffic and goes on a trek across the mean streets of Los Angeles to see his young daughter on her birthday.  Along the way he runs into all the dysfunctional aspects of modern America.  There is the Korean inconvenience store where the clerk won’t let you have change unless you pay larcenously high prices, the fast food store where a minute after the prescribed time breakfast becomes an impossibility and the food looks nothing like the nice pictures on the wall.  There are the Mexican street gangs holding up a stranger at knifepoint and then peppering a whole sidewalk full of neighbors with automatic weapons fire to revenge themselves on someone who didn’t allow himself to be robbed.  There are construction sites that spring up and leave the drivers stopped in place for hours, not to repair streets but just to maintain the size of the city construction budget.  There are the panhandlers and psychotic hate-mongers and all manner of unhappy people wherever he turns.

At the end of the film the police detective (played by Robert Duvall) following behind Foster’s trail of destruction figures out that Foster’s unconscious plan is to commit a murder suicide against his wife and daughter.  When Duvall tells him he’s under arrest Foster and the detective have this exchange:

  • “I’m the bad guy?” he asks, in a moment of rare clarity.
  • “Yeah,” says Robert Duvall’s police officer evenly, pointing a gun at his chest
  • “How did that happen?”

Now, up until the very end of the film Foster actually seems like a well-meaning guy who’s having a nervous breakdown in the middle of a city that is psychotic.  When he replies to the detective, he tells his side of it.  To paraphrase Foster, “I always did what they told me was the right thing and now I’ve been thrown away by my job and my family.  I’ve been lied to.”  The detective tells him that everyone has been lied to but that what Foster did isn’t justified.

“I always did what they told me was the right thing and now I’ve been thrown away by my job and my family.  I’ve been lied to.”  This is the crux of the analogy.  The regular joes were just doing all the right things we were told we should be doing.  We were being the good guys and bending over backwards to help the other guys out and what is our reward?  We’re told that we’re the bad guys.  That’s the whole thing in a nutshell.  I guess you could say it’s insult on top of injury.  And if they hadn’t added the insult at the end, when they thought it was already too late for us to do anything, they probably would’ve gotten away with it.  But these folks on the left just have to rub it in.  They not only want to destroy their enemies but they also need them to grovel too.

So that’s how we got here.  We can make a good showing for ourselves now that we know who and what we are up against.  We don’t actually have to help them dig the hole they want to bury us in.  We can stop paying them extortion money as they have no intention of showing gratitude because of it.  In fact, it only makes the Left more self-righteous about their entitlement.  Basically, it’ll be every man for himself, if I may be so bold to use the singular masculine pronoun.  So that’s why I think Falling Down is relevant.  We don’t want to pay for being the good guys if we’re still gonna be called the bad guys anyway.

The Falling Down Revolt

The Revolt on the Right is actually a civil rights movement.  Nobody frames it that way because the revolt is of the people that every other civil rights movement in this country has been framing as their oppressor.  This is the civil rights movement that at its core is straight white men.  That is the one identity that has no value in the victim identity rating system.  Or rather the value is negative infinity.  If you possess the three identity components of male white and straight then you can be passed over for a college spot, a scholarship, for a job, for a promotion, for an award and everyone will say it was the right decision even if you were objectively more qualified.

Now I said it was just straight white men who make up the core of the movement but it is becoming clearer that identity politics can affect other people too.  Recent investigations into Ivy League admissions show that Harvard has a policy to limit Asian American applicants even if they are demonstrably more qualified than some of their other favored minority applicants.  And the state of women’s sports is beginning to feel the impact of what having actual women compete against so called trans-gender women will mean.  Pretty soon the actual women will be completely crowded out of the winner’s circle.

And look at the recent cases of minorities running afoul of the royal flush of identity politics, the LGBTQ hand.  Normally being a black man is a pretty strong position when navigating the Hollywood landscape but Kevin Hart saw this credential trumped when he was hounded out of his Academy Awards hosting gig for having said uncomplimentary things about homosexuality in a tweet a number of years ago.  And as the final one-upsmanship situation a lesbian recently was shunned by the LGBTQ community for asking the question “How are trans-women different from men?”

But what is happening is an awakening to the fact that straight white men and to various degrees other groups are being discriminated against in the name of fairness.  And there isn’t a bit of fairness about it.  For decades the people of this country were told that each new identity group needed to be given special consideration to make up for the disparities in wealth or power or acceptance in order to bring the country together.  But rather than make the country more united it only stoked resentment and provided an industry in government oversight into every aspect of our lives.  School, college, work, housing, social organizations, sports and every business and profession became the target for relentless harassment and micromanagement.  At this point we’ve reached the point where freedom of religion has been trampled on to the extent that a wedding cake baker is hounded out of his own business to satisfy the spite of truly evil individuals.

I think Donald Trump’s campaign may be looked back at as the match that set off the powder keg.  Awareness of the situation is growing and more and more regular people are recognizing that they are being abused by a system that’s rigged against them and isn’t fair.  And they’re starting to realize that they don’t have to take it anymore.

To the mainstream media and the democrats this isn’t a civil rights movement.  To them it’s just racist people showing their lack of compassion.  But I think it is exactly the civil rights movement needed to bring back into balance the rights of the only people allowed to be trampled on by the identity politics cabal.

The real problem is what to call this movement.  All kinds of labels have been circulated.  The logic of it is basically Anti-Anti-White.  Now, that is a terrible name but the sense of it is there.  This is a revolt against reverse discrimination.  This is a reaction to the tyranny of the affirmative action regime.  This is a push for freedom from the thought police.  If I was looking for a symbol that represents the spirit of who is behind this movement, I would take the character in the movie “Falling Down.”  A schlub who has been trying to play by the rules all his life and finds that the game is rigged against him.

How about the Falling Down Revolt?

He-Man Woman Haters Club or the Royal Order of Raccoons?

As is my way I’m trying to come up with the name of something before the something even exists.  I’ve become intrigued with the idea of starting a fraternal order that would provide a place for people like me to feel at home.  Both of the names in the title are imaginary societies that appeared in popular tv shows when I was a kid.  The He-Man Woman Haters Club was where the Little Rascals congregated when they were having trouble with Darla or the other girls in the neighborhood and the Racoon Lodge is where Ralph and Ed retreated to when Alice and Trixie were nagging them about the dumpy apartments, they lived in.  Of course, these names may be under copyright protection but any name will do as long as the ground rules are right.

Rule 1 – All voting members will be married men.  They have to be men because women are a nuisance.  They have to be married because wisdom only comes through suffering and no one suffers as much as married men.  Unmarried men are welcome but cannot vote.

Rule 2 – All memberships will be approved by me based on interviews and recommendations of people I can vouch for.  Memberships can be revoked any time someone stops fitting the membership criteria.  I decide the criteria and can change them anytime I deem it necessary.  It’s a flexible system and should prove robust.

Rule 3 – The women’s auxiliary is made up exclusively of wives who can make sandwiches.  They have no standing in the organization other than to assist the members, cheer at sporting events, chaperone children’s activities and make sandwiches (and other designated foodstuffs).  If any wife becomes a nuisance she will be ejected and her husband will be liable for the offense up to and including expulsion.  Girlfriends of unmarried members can join the auxiliary but must get along with the wives.  Any member who has a wife and a girlfriend will have to sort that out himself.

Rule 4 – All children’s activities must be chaperoned by the parents or legal guardians of the children attending.  This is key.  People should care enough to spend time with their kids.  If you don’t want to why would we?

Rule 5 – No member can openly espouse Democrat, progressive, communist, socialist, globalist, anti-American or any other pinko sentiments.  You can be an atheist if you refrain from annoying religious people about it.  The organization is innately pro-God because God has always done right by me.  But we are not denominational.  God only talks to me when I’m alone and won’t allow me to tell anyone else what religion he belongs to.  Sorry.

Rule 6 – Men will wear pants at all times.  This is very important.  We are Americans and American men wear pants.  End of story.  You Scots are out of luck.

Rule 7 – Whenever in the course of a meeting or in organizational documents a pronoun is used for a person of indeterminate sex the masculine form will be used.  If this bothers you then you’re in the wrong club.

Other rules equally idiosyncratic will follow as I get around to making them up.  Suffice it to say that I will provide rules to prevent all the behaviors that annoy me in everyday politically correct arenas.  No make-believe pronouns, no gender equality, no weirdos of any kind (other than my kind of weirdos).

I am openly soliciting a name for this noble fraternal organization.  And if you can think of anything that needs to be added to the rules or if you have other comments, such as, “you must be insane!” then just leave them in the comment section below.

Yours in fraternal benevolence,

photog (AKA, the High, Exalted, Mystic Grand Master General)

 

My 2019 New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve been reading through the resolutions and predictions from various sites.  Pretty dismal stuff.  While I won’t deny that the coming year will be full of rampaging House democrats investigating and impeaching whatever they can, I don’t think throwing up my hands and waiting for the apocalypse is the correct response.

What I think should be done is look at the situation on the ground and figure out ways to make changes.  Granted everything we can do as individuals will be incremental and local but nevertheless, it should be done.  Actions are cumulative and at the local level they can be significant to the individuals around you, especially people you have close ties with.  And action boosts your morale and the morale of those around you.  Pollyannaism isn’t necessary.  It doesn’t do any good to be unrealistically optimistic about the situation we’re in, but refraining from despair is key and making even a small improvement in your local situation is very encouraging.

And in line with that idea, I think it’s important not to spend all your time reading doom and gloom.  Following politics is inherently depressing because so many of the players are terrible human beings.  Make sure you reserve a good chunk of your free time for pleasurable activities that provide uplift and a chance to interact with people who share your interests and point of view.

In the last few months, more folks have been commenting and some of the readers have kindly provided articles of their own to the site.  I find this extremely encouraging and take it as a positive sign for the direction OCF will be going.  A community of like-minded individuals sharing their interests and opinions is the original concept I had for the site and now I am beginning to understand how to attract the people who would be interested in this and how to organize the web pages to accommodate this.

I intend to run some promotions to increase readership substantially which should also expand the scope of the topics covered.  I know about photography and have some literary and musical preferences that I can write to.  Adding individuals with other interests and expertise will expand the circle of people who will be drawn to the content here.

Beyond that, I am interested in having other writers on the political side.  I have had some folks who have expressed interest in this.  But I definitely don’t want the site to be politics 24/7.  As important as it is it would bore me to death.  That’s why I do the Trump humor posts.  I have to break up the horror with some humor.

But let’s do the New Year’s thing.

I resolve to:

  • Put in some time at my fiction writing.
  • Research actionable ideas to improve the political/cultural situation.
  • Identify the best existing cultural, educational and commercial resources in order to avoid wherever possible the corrupt versions around us.
  • Help my family, friends and folks on our side to thrive in this nihilistic culture we’re living in.
  • Share as much happiness and good humor as I can with those on our side of the divide.

Happy New Year everyone.  Stick around and in the New Year stop by and resolve to leave a few comments.  I’d love to hear from you, even if the comment is critical.

31DEC2018 – Best of 2018 List

Here’s my retrospective on 2018, completely subjective of course and whenever I can’t make up my mind or I don’t want to leave something out I’ll cheat and provide more than one choice.  And that’s one of the wonderful things about being the boss, you get to break the rules and do what you want.

 

Best Quotes of the Day

Some are political, some philosophical and some just human nature.  The order is just chronological of their appearance on the site.

 

“In the many forms of government which have sprung up there has always been an acknowledgement of justice and proportionate equality, although mankind fail in attaining them, as indeed I have already explained. Democracy, for example, arises out of the notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects; because men are equally free, they claim to be absolutely equal.”

Aristotle

 

“No state will be well administered unless the middle class holds sway.”

Aristotle

 

“When there aren’t any smart decisions, I suppose you just have to pick the stupid decision you like best.”

Orson Scott Card

 

“No one likes the fellow who is all rogue, but we’ll forgive him almost anything if there is warmth of human sympathy underneath his rogueries. The immortal types of comedy are just such men.”

W. C. Fields

 

“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”

H.L. Mencken

 

Carpe diem!  Seize the day!  Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.

Horace

 

“And this is the simple truth – that to live is to feel oneself lost. He who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground. Instinctively, as do the shipwrecked, he will look around for something to which to cling, and that tragic, ruthless glance, absolutely sincere, because it is a question of his salvation, will cause him to bring order into the chaos of his life. These are the only genuine ideas; the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric, posturing, farce.”

Soren Kierkegaard

 

If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts.

Camille Paglia

 

Best Books Reviewed

Fiction

I’ll have to go with the Galaxy’s Edge series:

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2018/01/18/legionnaire-galaxys-edge-volume-1-by-jason-anspach-nick-cole-a-science-fiction-book-review/

Over the course of 2018 I read and reviewed all eight of the volumes in the main series (first volume linked above) and they only got better as the series went along.  It was good old mil-sci-fi space opera.  I assume I won’t live long enough to see the end of the series but so far that isn’t a problem.  I look forward to the next installment soon and am in no way tired of this particular universe.  Kudos to Anspach and Cole.  Long may they stoke their dumpster fire at the Edge of the Galaxy!

 Fiction Runners Up:

“The Hidden Truth” by Hans G. Schantz

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2018/10/30/the-brave-and-the-bold-book-3-of-the-hidden-truth-by-hans-g-schantz-a-science-fiction-book-review/

Schantz has also upped his game as his series progresses and the “The Brave and the Bold,” the third volume, is the best so far.  Kudos to him.

 

“Southern Dust” by Caspar Vega

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2018/08/25/southern-dust-by-caspar-vega-a-science-fiction-and-fantasy-book-review/

Vega is an acquired taste for me and as I’ve written about him, “It’s for those who like gritty crime dramas with a staccato, post-modern, minimalist writing style.”  Even though my tastes are a little more conventional I appreciate that there is an audience for the more unusual so I look around for interesting stuff.  As I’ve said before, your call.

 

Non-Fiction

The two books listed below provide two different takes on the way to interpret the results of ancient DNA analysis.

“The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution” by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending

“Who We Are and How We Got Here; Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Past” by David Reich

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2018/05/24/the-10000-year-explosion-a-book-review/

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2018/06/18/who-we-are-and-how-we-got-here-ancient-dna-and-the-new-science-of-the-past-by-david-reich-a-book-review/

 

David Reich being an academic embedded in the politically correct culture of the university system treads ever so gently around the edges of how the science of human genetic history should be interpreted.  Cochran and Harpending are much more direct and sometimes possibly presumptuous in the conclusions they draw from the evidence.  Both books together tell a fascinating story of how much we now know about the complex and diverse origins of the various human populations.

 

Best Movie

Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Incredibles 2

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2018/07/08/the-incredibles-2-a-science-fiction-fantasy-movie-review/

This is a kids’ movie but it far exceeds any of the other “superhero” movies for just plain entertainment value.  I won’t say it was as original as the first installment but it mostly kept to the spirit of the original and provided a fun vehicle for parents (or grandparents) to enjoy a movie with their kids.

 

Older Movies

True Grit

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2016/12/07/true-grit-the-duke-the-dude-and-the-dutiful-daughter-part-i/

 

This is a twofer.  For younger folks I’ll only recommend the new version by the Coen Brothers.  For people who grew up on the John Wayne movies of old I recommend they view both movies back to back in chronological order.  They each have facets to its advantage.  Each differs slightly from the source material.  But each is a fine movie.  And I’ll also recommend the novel that is the source for the movies.  It also has facets that aren’t available in either movie.

 

Music

Country Music

Album of the Year

Colter Wall by Colter Wall

Song of the Year

Pan Bowl by Sturgill Simpson

My music choices are very idiosyncratic so I won’t try to justify them.  To paraphrase a recent annoying politician, they just reflect who I am  Pan Bowl is an older song from Simpson’s 2014 album.

 

TV

The only truly notable television I watched in 2018 was the State of the Union address by the president.  Everything else was at best just okay.

 

On – Line Articles

 

Here are the articles that I thought were informative on our political situation.  There were many others that were intersting but these seem to encapsulate the developments in the political thinking this year.  Basically it’s the red-pilling of the normies.

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2018/03/23/american-greatness-pick-of-the-day-total-political-war-by-matthew-j-peterson/

 

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2018/04/15/a-different-kind-of-red-shift/

 

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2018/05/29/john-derbyshire-post-electoral-gold-for-the-stupid-party-the-anti-anti-white-vote/

 

http://orionscoldfire.com/index.php/2018/10/25/our-revolutions-logic-angelo-codevilla-an-on-line-article-review/

 

Humor

Trump vs

These are of course the most subjective things to judge.  I just kind of liked these a lot.  I admit they are absurd but such is life.

Trump vs the Hell Storm (Part 1)

Trump vs the Hell Storm (Part 2)

Search hell Trump vs the Hell Storm (Part 3)

 

Photos

Here are my favorite photos of the year.

Landscape

 

 

Nature

American Museum of Natural History, New York City, Sony NEX 5N, Sony 24mm F\1.8 APSC lens
macrophotography with Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm f\4 macro lens and extension tubes, long horned beetle
Monotropa uniflora, Indian pipe, ghost plant, corpse plant, Sony A7 III with Minolta 200mm f\4 Macro lens
Sony A7 III with the Sigma MC-11 Adapter and the Sigma 180mm f\2.8 APO Macro EX DG HSM OS for Canon

 

31DEC2018 – OCF New Year’s Eve Update

I’ll put together an end of year retrospective of what I think are the important events and items in the various categories that I cover (politics, culture, books, movies, tv and photography).  It’s a good day to reflect and plan for the new year.  I’ve learned a lot about running the site and reaching people so I feel like 2019 will be an important year for the site and a fun year to be a reader here.

24DEC2018 -OCF Update – Christmas Wish

Merry Christmas, to all of you who visit here!

I’ll have a photo and quote for the day on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  But I will be hobnobbing with my fellow wizards and ingesting mass quantities of Christmas comestibles both days and so I cannot promise much posting.  But I just want to wish all of you a happy and well-needed celebration with all your loved ones.

photog