Here’s a Post About What’s Wrong with Modern Churches

Bear Grylls is a reality tv personality.  He does a lot of wilderness survival stuff.  And from what I read in this article he’s hawking a couple of books and probably some other stuff too.  But a lot of what he’s saying here is quite true.  What he says about the modern churches rings true for me.

“He expressed his distaste for what he called “religious language,” sanitizing messages in such a way where people “can’t be honest, can’t express doubt and can’t fail.” The Church, he said, is “the place to have doubts and questions.”

“Look at the early Church. It was a roomful of people eating and drinking and doubting and struggling and arguing,” he said. 

But the Church today, he said, has gotten away from that. 

“Probably most of the people in the congregation have substance abuse, and probably most of their congregations struggle with porn and all that sort of stuff,” he said. “What a relief it is when a pastor can stand up and go, ‘Welcome to the hospital, folks. Here we go. I’m just standing alongside you on the road, failing our way through, but reaching out of desperation for life and love and redemption. Let’s look outwards, and love other people, and we’re in it together.’””

Religion is the next frontier that has to be reclaimed from the Left.  And the sooner the better.  There’s very little of it left to fix.  Most of the churches are beyond repair and need to be abandoned.


Guest Contributor – pigpen51 – 16JAN2023 – Reply to What’s Wrong With Modern Churches

Men and Dogs and Women

A7 III with Sigma 150 – 600mm MC-11 adapter

Dog is man’s best friend.  But woman is dog’s best friend.  Or should that be mommy.  I went with Camera Girl to the vet’s office with Kaylee, our older dog.  She’s a 13-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer and she’s starting to wear down.  Camera Girl loves her dearly and has been very worried that she won’t make it through the winter.  Now this seems like an unnecessary concern.  Other than progressive arthritis and a certain amount of mental confusion she seems relatively healthy.  She still enjoys her food enthusiastically and can keep up her normal activities, only at a slower pace.

But because of her concerns I went along in case any bad news was forthcoming.  When we got there, we entered the office and the receptionist began engaging in the typical female baby talk that is reserved for pets.  Then we got to the examination room and the vet tech came in and she too commenced with the mewing and cooing that passes for woman to dog communication.  And finally, the vet showed up and she also began the embarrassing babbling.  Now I will admit that both the tech and the vet were pretty adept at their medical tasks.  They vaccinated Kaylee and cut her nails quite skillfully.  And the vet convinced Camera Girl that Kaylee will make it through the year at least.  But as a man it was pretty comical listening as three grown women coaxed and comforted a large dog as if it were a three-month-old infant.

Now, full disclosure.  I have a very soft spot in my heart for all our dogs past and present.  And since I’ve had to be the one holding them when the vet puts them to sleep for the last time, I know exactly how close is the bond between a man and his dog.  Of course, they’re not human and certainly not our children.  But they think they are.  And that obligates us to treat them as family.  Since they lack the wherewithal to be responsible for themselves in human society, we become their guardians and keepers.  So that’s the logical underpinning for our position.  But the emotional relationship is much, much closer to a parent-child relationship than anything else.

So, fine.  We treat them in many ways like children.  But why do these women pretend they’re talking to newborns?  Dogs have the intelligence of a young child in many ways.  And they have the ability to respond to verbal commands and prompts of all kinds.  Why do these women chirp at them in this embarrassing manner.  As a mother and grandmother Camera Girl has always been quite good at teaching and disciplining little children and once they’re beyond a year or so she speaks to children in English with a minimum of singsong and baby words.  Why does she insist on using it for dogs.  In fact, why can’t she discipline her dogs as well as she did her children?

For the majority of our married life, I’ve been at the office during the week and she was home with the kids and dogs.  And without exception she has spoiled every one of our dogs rotten.  All of her cooing and babytalk is useless in getting the dogs to obey her.  Finally in desperation she asks me to take over and I have to growl at the dog to get obedience.  And this is a very bad situation.  For larger sporting breeds bad training can be dangerous.  But my protests have always been in vain.  She just can’t treat a dog as anything but a baby.

But at last, there will be a changing of the guard.  When in the fullness of time we need to get a new puppy in the house I will be home much more of the time than formerly and I intend to train this dog.  And it will be a revelation to Camera Girl.  This dog will obey my commands immediately and unerringly.  This dog will be a manly chap who will eschew all baby talk and respond to the curt guttural syllables reserved for a dog in the field.  Sit!  Heel!  Down!  He’ll be used to good solid pats to the ribs when he succeeds in his chores and maybe a scratch behind the ear while we’re watching tv together.  I’ll allow this dog a modicum of self-respect as a carnivore in good standing.  No goo-goo gah-gah.  Sure, I won’t stop Camera Girl from chirping at the dog and lavishing affection on him but I will not allow her to undermine the training.

A man and his dog.  A woman and her dog.  So different.

Enough of Gloom and Doom for the Last Week of the Year


So that post I had up for yesterday was certainly depressing.  Well, I had an antidote for that today.  After getting home from an errand this afternoon, I had all four grandsons over for a viewing of the extended version of the “Return of the King.”  This includes my personal favorite scene from the motion picture series, “The Ride of the Rohirrim.”

There’s nothing like hanging out with my young descendants to cheer me up.  This was the first viewing of this decisive completion to the trilogy for the two younger fellows.  And there was much excitement over the visually impressive Battle of Minas Tirth.  We cheered on the good guys and laughed when the various orcs and trolls were splatted by projectiles hurled from the battlements.

Camera Girl, always the gracious hostess, provided grilled cheeses sandwiches, mac and cheese and desserts.  There were several pies, various flavors of ice cream, cheesecake and cookies available.  And this being a vacation week we all ate way too much.

After the movie ended, we debated many important points of Tolkeiniana.  I expressed my opinion that regardless of the violence done to the plot Sam should have been allowed to liquidate Gollum.  In all honesty, in the movie version, I despise both Gollum and Frodo almost equally.  Frodo is such a hopeless basket case that it defies imagination that Sam was able to finally carry him over the finish line to Mount Doom at all.  If they had taken along a ten-year-old girl instead it couldn’t have been any more pathetic.  I think if Elrond had given the ring to Sam, he would have chucked it in Mount Doom a couple of months early and been back in the Shire in time for potato planting.

My younger relatives seemed to enjoy most the scenes where Gimli and Legolas compete to kill the most orcs.  I have to confess the liberties that the movie makers took with the dialog around Gimli borders on the farcical but I will admit that sometimes the lightheartedness is a welcome addition.  Although I do draw the line at the dwarf tossing and elf snowboarding scenes in “The Two Towers.”

Eventually some of the discussions spilled over into arguments about the actual text in Tolkien’s books.  I had to bring out my copy of the trilogy in order to provide authoritative answers to questions like which were older, the Oathbreakers on the Paths of the Dead or the dead soldiers in the Dead Marshes?  As it turned out they were both from the same time period, the Last Alliance of Men and Elves against Sauron at the end of the Second Age.

And so, we ended the get together and I brought them home in time to finish their chores and prepare for the next day of their Christmas vacation.  But if life in this confused world still includes time with such admirable characters as my grandsons, then it can’t be all bad.  We’ll have many good things to do in the days and weeks ahead.  And I’ll get to see them grow up to be fine young men.  As for problems, well, helping family with their problems is what family is all about.

Christmas Day 2022

Christmas Eve with the grandsons at their home was great.  They were in epic high spirits and we talked of various things.  With the eldest it was nuclear fusion and robotics.  With the youngest it was, of course, dinosaurs but also his latest pet, a bearded dragon with an inexhaustible appetite for “super worms.”  With the others there was talk of soccer and what they would be doing on the Christmas holiday next week.  Much food was eaten and the younger kids were occupied with happy mayhem.  Something with plastic swords and shields.


But this morning, Camera Girl is at peak output with potatoes being mashed, lasagna, roast beast and ham cooking and side dishes being prepared.  I can tell her patience is exhausted so I have to tread carefully around the outskirts of her kitchen or a carving knife might end up under my ribs.  She does have Sicilian blood on her mother’s side.  But I can tell all is going well.  She’s in the zone.  All of the desserts are already prepared and the meat courses are right on schedule.  It will be a feast to remember.  And the leftovers will be glorious.  That ham will end up in at least a lentil soup and probably some breakfasts.

But after eating way too much food and way too much dessert I’ll spend the time with the grandkids.  Now that Princess Sack of Potatoes is a full four years old, she’ll be right in the thick of it with her older cousins.  I might even try to put on a showing of one of the “Christmas Carol” movies but Camera Girl frowns on television watching on the holidays.  She prefers more sociable pursuits like cards.  We’ll see.

The weather has cooperated.  Although bitterly cold, the roads are in mostly good shape.  Only a few curves of the hills have some large ice hazards but last night I noted that these had been treated with salt so my guests should be safe coming and going today.

Monday we can get back to the political nightmare our country has descended into but today will be “Peace on earth, good will toward men.”  So, all of you have a great day and night and in Tiny Tim’s immortal words, “God bless us every one.”


I ruined my own surprise by hanging around the kitchen.  Camera Girl had secretly bought me a boneless loin of lamb.  She hates lamb and vociferously refused making it when I mentioned it last week.  But after performing my duty of cutting an X on the raw chestnuts, I glanced over at the stove and there it was.  My discovery angered her but what could I do?  She should have hidden it.  I did thank her heartily but she is pretty mad for me spoiling the surprise.  Well, I’ll make it up to her later.  Christmas just got a whole lot merrier.  But, boy will I be groggy tonight.

24DEC2022 – OCF Update – Christmas Eve

I’ll be heading out for a Christmas Eve dinner a little before 3 pm.  I intend to eat too much and spend as much time doing whatever the grandchildren want to do as circumstance allows.  Their parents are hosting the party so they’ll have to do all the work and I’ll get to hang out with the kids.

I haven’t written a political post lately other than the odd comment on the headlines.  It’s just too grim to do on the holiday.  The only rational option is to ignore the horror for a few days to allow some joy in our lives before we have to face the wreckage that is waiting for us up ahead.

And that’s reasonable.  Human beings require joy in their lives every once in a while just to survive.  And Christmas is the prime example of how we attempt to make a recurring ritual of joy in our lives.  So Biden and Pelosi and Schumer and the rest of the vampires will still be there when the holiday ends and we will still be up to our ears in dysfunction and depravity.  But we will have had a few days to feel a little happiness in our lives and remind ourselves that there is good in the world.

So I hope everyone has a good day.  And even if it’s just a day off, enjoy it and forget about the problems of the world for as long as you’re allowed.  I’ll post as time allows and as the spirit moves me.

Merry Christmas.

Wampanoag Lasagna

It is reputed that at the Pilgrims’ first Christmas dinner the main course was lasagna.  Apparently, some of the Wampanoag Indians learned how to make this dish from Christopher Columbus or one of his friends back in the late 1400’s when they were on a Caribbean vacation and upon returning home it became traditional in the New England area.  Admittedly some scholars reject this time line.  These dissidents claim it came into vogue in the 1900’s with a later wave of Italian influence.

Regardless of which camp you find yourself in it’s obvious that lasagna is a very interesting choice for a Christmas menu.  Now Camera Girl had asked my opinion about the Christmas menu.  I had recommended a roast beast after the Italian wedding soup and she added a ham and then as an afterthought I asked about lasagna as a course.  Surprisingly there was resistance to this reasonable recommendation.  Something about not everyone liking lasagna.  I can’t remember if I pounded my fist on the table and shouted some strangled syllables that might have been, “Heresy!”  Later I calmed down and just swallowed my disappointment.

But Camera Girl is a mysterious creature and without my knowledge or permission she bought the ingredients for lasagna and today she is doing the assembly for later cooking.  There are fragments of sausage and meatball, sauce and various cheeses that go into the layers between the pasta layers.  Of course, I forgave her for her treacherous silence and subterfuge.  Just as Adam forgave Eve for that whole apple thing, I was the better person and put the whole treacherous story behind me and gave my blessing to this lasagna conspiracy.

But this does create an awkward situation for my meal.  I really like roast beef and I like ham.  But lasagna is enormously delicious and infrequently available.  How do I do justice to this dinner without ending up in the hospital emergency room?  Ah, heavy is the head that wears the crown.  Well, I’ll figure it out.  And of course, left over lasagna is a very pleasant situation and I’m sure Camera Girl will distribute it to the households that have children to feed.  Maybe the real concern is that some of it remains for me on December 26th and 27th.

Here is a photo of the intermediate stage of the lasagna assembly process.

And one of the end product.

And here’s one of the Italian cheesecake she’s also got going.

Well, I have to say, Christmas 2022 is shaping up to be pretty remarkable.  It seems that the crazier the world becomes the more special become the personal moments that we share with our friends and family.  In fact, that’s probably why they’re that way.  It’s a defense mechanism to keep our sanity and concentrate on the things within our control and keep the awfulness at arm’s length.  Well even if that’s so it doesn’t detract from the greatness of these special things we do.  Tomorrow we’ll be away at Christmas Eve most of the day so I’ll say Merry Christmas to everyone here.  May you enjoy your time and make the most of it.

Merry Christmas

In Hera’s Kitchen

Today is the highest of solemnities in Camera Girl’s kitchen calendar.  I, even I, am banned from encroaching on the rituals being performed.  And I’m no fool.  Interfering with the magic going on risks the spoiling of those spells and the blighting of the baked goods being produced; a horror not to be imagined.

Today Camera Girl and her daughters and now her granddaughter will gather like a coven of witches and take their magic ingredients and hover around the stove and drink coffee (or hot chocolate in the case of Princess Sack of Potatoes) and knead dough and add vanilla extract and hand shape the grandma cookies and the chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies and whichever new variants they decide on.

And wondrous aromas will waft through the house and when they’re through there will be a pile of cookies to get us through to New Year’s Day.  Splendiferous confections that turn a coffee break into a feast.  And make watching an old movie into a special event.

But even ignoring the practical results of this activity, this is a primary ritual of our domestic calendar.  The hand written recipes are coming on fifty years.  The paper is beginning to crumble and the writing is fading from exposure to ingredients and wear and tear.  I’ve warned Camera Girl that they need to be copied and digitized, printed out and distributed to her daughters to preserve them from loss.  But if it’s going to be done, I’ll have to take on the project.

I look at some of the recipes and the notes on them and see the names of friends and relatives from long ago.  Only one or two living women are represented.  Most are from our parents’ and grandparents’ generation.  A few go even farther back.

And that’s a comforting legacy.  In these times when fools are trying to deconstruct the meaning of man and woman and sever the traditions that have given meaning to our lives, there still exist people and rituals that ground our lives and make them human and pleasant.  Baking cookies may seem to some people to be a trivial and possibly harmful activity in a world of obese people.  But it’s exactly opposite.  Christmas cookies are a special and specific part of the year.  Once they’re done, we don’t make more.  We move onto the winter months when we subsist on meager fare, far removed from the bounty of summer and fall.  Christmas is a celebration and an ending of the year and needs to be treated as such.

So, I will withdraw from the kitchen and keep myself busy with other things while the women commune with their flour and butter.  From time to time, I’ll find an excuse to walk by the kitchen and see how things are going.  And maybe my granddaughter will come visit with me for a game of Candy Land.  But for the most part I’ll leave them to their industry and their talk.  And before I go to bed there will be the hoard of golden and white and brown cookies in various cookie jars and containers.  And of course, there will be a big mug of coffee and one or two (or even three) cookies waiting for me to enjoy during a holiday movie.  God bless you Camera Girl and long may you bake.

With Visions of Sugar Plums Dancing Over Their Heads

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens


The last week before Christmas.  Now Camera Girl must marshal all her powers to coordinate the schedule of buying and cooking the feast.  Today she came home with a ham, chopped meat, escarole and some of the other ingredients of the various courses.  The roast beast won’t arrive until the end of the week.  And the pies and cakes won’t be baked or bought for a few days more.  I was explicit that there must be a good quality vanilla ice cream in copious quantity to complement the pies.  And very good coffee to wash it down.

The mashed potatoes, corn, crescent rolls and the stuffed mushrooms are all last-minute items that won’t be started until Christmas Eve but they’ll add their dimension to the meal.  And finally, I demanded chestnuts and that rope of dried figs that no one ever eats.  Camera Girl, being the frugal woman that she is, complained bitterly that chestnuts now cost $8 a pound.  But I was adamant.  I never liked them as a kid but my father-in-law always had some out at Christmas and after trying them a few times I actually developed a taste for them.  As for the dried figs, they’re so hard that they’re almost inedible but somehow it wouldn’t be Christmas without them lying around on the table so I demanded them too.

And this year I’ll show my little granddaughter the trick with the mandarin orange skin and a lighted match.  The oils in the skin are flammable and she’ll be amazed to see it ignite around the match when I squeeze the skin near it.  And this year I think I’ll try to get the kids to join in a penny ante poker game with me.  Camera Girl has an old bucket of pennies.  There must be a thousand of them and we can play for hours without any serious money changing hands.

I’ve got my favorite Christmas DVDs at the ready and several albums of Christmas music on tap.  And no one should be sick this year because everyone has already been stricken with the Chinese Bioweapon recently.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had a sugar plum but I’m pretty sure there’ll be all kinds of chocolates and mints on the table.

Sure, everything is about twice as expensive as normal and that old dimwit Biden keeps gassing off every few days about Ukraine or gay marriage or trans-something-or-other but I’m satisfied that this will be a good Christmas despite him and the rest of the grifters who run the crime family that fleeces us.

It’s still Christmas, friends, family and food and that’s a pretty good combination.  I can no longer feel any community with the degenerates that surround us and plot bigger and uglier ways to degrade the good things in the world.  But I feel kinship with the normal people that work hard and raise their kids and try to make the world go round.  With them I can hope for a Merry Christmas and we’ll worry about the New Year later.  Where’s that sweet potato pie?

5DEC2022 – OCF Update – More Focus Stacks

Today I was part of the long chain of knowledge that begins with the “the master of those who know” and extends all the way to my four year old granddaughter.  In the spirit of Aristotle we recreated the dialectic on the various animal classes.  I tried to explain the reason why a grasshopper was different from a mouse.  We talked about the higher animals and the lower animals and I even got around to explaining why dinosaurs are related to lizards and birds.  After about a half hour she’d had enough and we went back to a match game for dinosaurs.  And after that back to Candy Land.  Well I’d still give Princess Sack of Potatoes the intellectual edge over Plato but I think I need to get some high quality color phtots of different animals to make the discussion more compelling for her.

Once Camera Girl led her granddaughter into the kitchen to bake some pumpkin bread I decided this was a good day for some macrophotography fun.

So I took some focus stacks.  I had a tiny old Roman coin and a long dead beetle lying around so they were my subjects.

15DEC2022 beetle stack
15DEC2022 coin face 2 stack
15DEC2022 coin tail stack

The focus intervals don’t seem to have been sufficient to give a perfect stack.  But i’m using a Sony Remote Commander and it doesn’t have any calibration for the focus change.  I have a little program I can use while tethered to my laptop but the A7 IV requires a USB 3 cable and I only have USB 1 or 2.  So I’ll have to go out and get one.  But still a nice exercise.

All in all a day well spent.

The Culture Wars Are Won One Child at a Time

Legislating morality and thinking that will be enough to protect children is a mistaken idea.  The individuals who seek to prey on young people are working at the personal level and they need to be stopped at the same personal level, one on one.  Excluding these individuals from access to your children has to be done by design and diligence.

Look who has access to your kids.  The biggest pools of access are in the schools they attend.  There you have the school boards who set policy, the principals who oversee the operation and the teachers and other functionaries like librarians, nurses, teacher’s aides and administrators who directly interact with your children.  Figuring out how to evaluate the records and personalities of these people is far from a trivial exercise.  But this is your responsibility.  You’ve got to utilize any and every resource available.  Do a search for best practices in evaluating schools for safety risks like sex offenders among the staff.  Demand to see the curriculum and actual course materials that your children will be studying.  Find out what outside personnel and resources will be used in any enrichment activities the school plans for the coming year.  Talk to the teachers individually and engage them with frank questions about their perspectives about anything that the teachers might try to use to interject their personal beliefs on your children.  Note these teachers’ appearances and mannerisms.  Are they unusual looking?  Do they behave at all abnormally?  Look for danger signs.  An obvious one is an LGBTQ individual.  Worse still is someone who presents as transgender.  If the school is terrible, then look for an alternative.

And the schools are not the only danger zones.  Day care and after school activities such as gym classes, dance classes, sports, scouting, swimming lessons, self-defense classes, art classes, music lessons are all things that must be investigated to feel confident that the personnel are safe and to be trusted.  And even then, remember that other children are also to be taken into consideration from a risk point of view.  Will your child be supervised in a responsible manner by the personnel present.  Or alternatively will you be present to take care of the supervision?

And finally, the other reservoir of concern are your children’s friends and their families and parents.  Leaving your kids with strangers is extremely irresponsible.  Get to know your kids’ friends and their families.  Friends have an enormous influence on growing children.  Peer pressure about sex and drug use are extremely hard to overestimate.  Kids are horribly suggestible well into their twenties.  But do your best to exclude the worst examples among their peers that you can.  And the best way to do this is to dominate their free time with activities and playmates that you have planned and vetted.  One of the best ways for you to do this is to volunteer for the supervision of the activities that your kids will be participating in.  Coaching kids’ sports teams is a great way to see which kids are odd or abnormal.  Also, you’ll get to meet the other parents and try to distinguish the good from the bad.  But remember your knowledge of other people will always be limited.  Always be careful of the situations you leave your kids in when you can’t be there.

And finally come up with a program for making your kids aware of the dangers that they may be exposed to when you’re not around.  Have appropriate discussions with your kids about the strange things that have begun to infect the world.  Somehow, you’ll have to explain some of the abnormalities that have become commonplace in the modern American landscape.  You’ll have to explain things like homosexuality and transgenderism and how they can protect themselves from the people attempting to normalize these behaviors to children.  You’re going to have to find resources to explain these concepts in ways that don’t frighten kids but at the same time allow them to adopt a posture that allows them to keep away from it.  That is far from a trivial assignment.

This is an enormous amount of work.  You can make it easier by living in a state like Florida that is starting to legislate against schools teaching perversion to young children.  But even in a “safe” state the burden is still on you to ensure that dangerous predators don’t manage to get access to your children.  But if you’re a parent, that is your job and if you’re successful you will win the culture war in the most important sense of the term.  You’ll have protected your child from the sexual confusion and nihilism that is the worst damage that the Left inflicts on children.  And you’ll maximize your chances of someday having grandchildren that will need to be protected too.  But then you’ll have raised children that will be up to the challenge of being those parents.