He Restoreth My Soul

Psalm 23 (King James Version)

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

“He restoreth my soul.”  The perfect words.  Getting together with the family, especially the grandkids did just that.  Fooling around at the pool table with my younger grandsons and watching old movies and eating absurd amounts of fattening foods and joking and laughing was “A Medicine for Melancholy.”  Camera Girl clocked multiple days of preparation and cooked up a storm.  She fell asleep exhausted last night but woke up today smiling and looking forward to the Friday sequel when even more family will be over.

I sat down and talked about current business problems with one of my sons-in-law.  He runs a medium-sized manufacturing plant and they just can’t find good help at any reasonable price.  But just telling his situation to someone who knows what he’s talking about is therapeutic and I was glad he confided in me.  Maybe I’ll figure out something that could help.  But just talking is good.  We all get wrapped up in our own problems.  We lose track of how others, even close family, are getting along or aren’t getting along.  Knowing that someone else would benefit from some small help is valuable.  We break out of our silos as they say in management speak.

How about that!  The world isn’t quite ready to collapse yet.  We’ll get to breathe and eat and laugh and cry.  There are all kinds of useful things we can do right around us even as Dementia Joe and the rest of the looters figure out new ways to degrade this once great nation.

Talk to your friends and family.  Spend time with them.  Figure out how you can help them.  Make their lives better and it’ll make your life better too.  The world doesn’t really consist just of trans-gender lunatics and critical race theory propagandists.  It consists of your family and friends and the life they have to lead.  Sure, those other things impact them and you can help to offset some of that harm with information you can provide.  But the focus is on the positive things that you do and say.  Do them.  Say them.  Because it’s the neglect of doing the things that need to be done that leaves room for the madness to creep in.

I must sound like someone hopped up on amphetamines but it’s just amazing.  The COVID isolation must have beat my soul down pretty bad.  Because the lift I got from a regular Thanksgiving get together is phenomenal.    Hopefully by Monday I’ll be able to muster up some gloom and doom.  But right now, I’m looking forward to round two.  Enjoy your long holiday weekend.

 

Here’s a repeat of Camera Girl’s Thanksgiving Turkey.  But it deserves another photo.

A Thanksgiving Wish to All My Friends

Thanksgiving Day 2021

Here’s a wish that today is a special day of peace and happiness to all my friends near and far.  Stay strong and never despair.  We all have things to be thankful for and better times will come again.  And enduring all that we’ve suffered at the hands of the evil and stupid will make the good times that much sweeter when they come.  Remember you’re not alone.  There are many good people out there and we will see a better day.

Happy Thanksgiving

 

A Post for Thanksgiving 2021

I wanted to write something for Thanksgiving.  I didn’t want to pollute the holiday with doom and gloom but in the present debased state of the world we find ourselves in I was unsure if I could find something fitting.  However, that’s just the doom and gloom speaking.  Most of us have many blessings to be thankful for.  For myself I have children and grandchildren and a wonderful wife (don’t let Camera Girl know I said that) and have had enormous good fortune over the course of my life.  If at this stage I no longer live in a free country, well, I’ll have to figure that out.  My ancestors lived in a gangster state and they managed to live and raise their families.  True, they left for a better place but they had had their lives in the old country and despair wasn’t part of it.

Well, we’ll have to find our way in these troubled times.  And we will.  From my point of view either there will be a revolt against the madness or I’ll need to find a better place.  Maybe the revolt will only be a self-segregation of the normal people maintaining a society of sanity embedded in a matrix of lunacy.  Maybe the Red States will become free or maybe they’ll loosen the Union enough to allow us to live our own way.  Or maybe it’ll all go to hell and I’ll get the hell out.  But whichever way it goes despair is a stupid, weak reaction.

I’ll do whatever has to be done for me and mine and I’ll look for good people wherever I can find them.  What I won’t do is pledge allegiance to the gangsters who’ve taken over the government and all the other institutions and tried to make me say that “two plus two equals five.”  This may be the richest place on earth but I am not afraid to live in a poorer place if it lets me think for myself.  Besides, this place is quickly turning into a third world banana republic.  That should make it that much easier to reform it or that much easier to leave.

So, there’s my crazy message of hope on Thanksgiving.  I am thankful that God has blessed me with great wealth, the people I love.  And he gave me a great gift of being able to see clearly what is around me and knowing the difference between what is real and what is imaginary.  And at dinner I’ll enjoy my overpriced turkey dinner with my family and I’ll enjoy myself for a day before getting back to thinking of how to navigate in the madhouse that is Dementia Joe’s America.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy your time with those you love and eat some fattening food and laugh and talk and make plans for Christmas and buy some overpriced gifts for the kids.  Do all the fun things we used to do when this was still America.  There’s plenty of time next week for gloom and doom.  But don’t let it get to you.  We’ll figure something out for ourselves and one day we’ll leave the lunatics behind and build a better world for us and ours.

25NOV2021 – An Excerpt of a Poem for Thanksgiving

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

The Pumpkin

Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,

From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest;

When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board

The old broken links of affection restored,

When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,

And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,

What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?

What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

 

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,

When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!

When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,

Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!

When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,

Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,

Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam

In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

 

Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better

E’er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!

Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,

Brighter eyes never watched o’er its baking, than thine!

And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,

Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,

That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,

And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,

And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky

Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!

John Greenleaf Whittier

24NOV2021 – OCF Update – Holiday Hours

Well, we’ve reached the brink of the great feast and Camera girl is buzzing around like a bee cooking pies, cleaning here, there and everywhere.  Obviously I’ll have to try to appear busy myself or she’ll recruit me into this madness.

That being as it may, I anticipate a slowdown of output by me today and tomorrow.  If anything occurs that I just can’t resist ranting about I’ll pound something out but most of the nonsense going on currently can wait until I’ve had my turkey dinner and socialized with my descendants.

So I just want to wish all the readers a happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you have the chance to make the most of the long weekend and if it’s possible that you get to spend time with the people in your life who mean the most.  Enjoy the food!

15NOV2021 – OCF Update

 

Sony A7 III, Minolta 200mm F\4 Macro lens

 

“The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere;”

From “Ulalume” by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

I took a walk around to see if there were any photos to be had. And there were a few.  Mostly trees holding onto a precious few dead leaves.  And the sky and the leaves reminded me of those lines from Poe.  And looking it up I noted that Poe was only forty years old when he died.  Well, he was a very strange man with many problems.  But he did capture some very vivid imagery in some of his work.  And late fall is his special time of year.  October, November and December seem to be the time and mood of his prose and poetry.  Maybe Poe could qualify as one of Ray Bradbury’s “October People.”

Autumn is a very good time of the year to be in a warm house and sharing good food and good talk with friends and family.  And Thanksgiving is sneaking up on us so I checked up on Camera Girl’s holiday planning and indeed she assures me that a twenty five pound turkey will be included and that ample and various pies and other desserts will appear on the menu, so everything seems to be in order.

She informed me that Walmart has begun playing Christmas music outside the building.  Apparently broadcasting it will attract holiday shoppers by some sort of sympathetic vibration.  I asked her if the music put her in the holiday spirit and she rolled her eyes at me.  Despite her clear lack of spirit I will be starting my annual Christmas music marathon very soon.  The centerpiece of this program is the album that my parents used to play when I was about ten, “The Little Drummer Boy” by the Harry Simeone Chorale.  When I hear those versions sung I might as well be ten years old again.  For a little while I can forget the horrors of the world around us and bask in the old remembered warmth of being a kid in Real America.

Mild November Days

We’ve had about a week of night time temperatures slightly below freezing but I went out this afternoon and found activity.  Tiny midges and Asian ladybugs were flying round.  I found a salamander in a mouse nest under a tin that I put out to find snakes.  The only vegetation (other than the pines and other evergreens) that’s still green is the grass and two metasequoia trees that stand at the edge of the forest.  There’s no ice on the pond yet.  We stand suspended at the edge of the precipice of winter.  And it’s supposed to warm up for at least a week coming up.  With above freezing night time temperatures and daytime temperatures flirting with sixty!  As much as I am a devotee of summer, I have to admit that this year, fall is mellow and very pleasant.  It’s as if New England is trying to make amends for what will follow.

We’ll be celebrating Princess Sack of Potatoes’ third birthday with a party here and it will be a very happy occasion.  And then in two weeks there is Thanksgiving with all the grandkids coming here and that will be Camera Girl’s magnum opus for the year.  Turkey and all the fixings and pies and traditional holiday movie selections.  The March of the Wooden Soldiers, Gulliver’s Travels and I think I’ll start my annual Christmas Carol marathon.  All wonderful things to make this a bright and happy time of the year.

And now I’ll admit my evil nature.  The fact that Dementia Joe’s popularity has tanked and there is a good chance that his America demolishing legislation will stall out long enough to be finished off by the 2022 mid-terms has triggered a wonderful case of schadenfreude in me.  I’m taking enormous joy in the misfortune of these reptiles.  My whole attitude has improved and there’s a spring in my step that’s been missing since last year’s election fraud debacle.

I’ve found myself reading those articles in the Atlantic and Slate and even the New York Times where they try to make the case that Joe Biden is really much more popular than believed and that once they pass the “reconciliation” his poll numbers will skyrocket into the stratosphere.  Of course, they don’t explain how exactly they’ll do that while two of their senators refuse to sign on to the absurd agenda that this bill represents.  And they further state that the runaway inflation and broken supply chain aren’t things that Americans worry about.  Apparently five-dollar gasoline isn’t a problem (when you work for the Atlantic) and anyone who says it is must be a liar and possibly an insurrectionist.  As far as these writers are concerned if the economy isn’t good enough for these deplorables let them eat cake.

So poised for the Holidays the photog clan is looking forward to a jolly Thanksgiving and a merry Christmas.  We will pay the exorbitant prices for food and drink and buy whatever presents are still available on the bare shelves of Walmart and Amazon.  We’ll go into the new year with the hope that the Supreme Court will finally tell Dementia Joe that he can’t force us to take the vaccines or wear masks for the rest of our lives.

So, for this week at least I’m all optimism.  How about you?

Update:  8:31 pm

So, tonight Camera Girl and I watched the season premiere (two hours!) of our favorite night-time soap, “Yellowstone.”  It’s our secret shame.  It’s a ridiculous hot mess almost totally devoid of any acting.  But they do have some good country music on from time to time.  Tonight the first hour ended with Colter Wall’s “Plain to See Plainsman.”  So that did lessen the pain of watching Yellowstone so optimism still intact!

24NOV2020 – OCF Update

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Americans out there.  I know we’re all living through the horrors that the Left has cooked up for us.  The lockdowns, the rampaging psychopaths and finally the fraudulent election plot.  It may seem insane to even talk about a happy anything but I refuse to let these horrible people rob me and my family of at least part of the joy that the holiday is supposed to provide.  My family gathering won’t be as large as some years but it will still be joyous and include children and grandchildren and a whole lot of turkey and other fattening food.  I hope to introduce my two year old granddaughter to the March of the Wooden Soldiers, Gulliver’s Travels and the art of getting the larger piece of the wishbone during the contest.  So please make sure to have some joy on Thursday even if it has to be by phone or video call.  After all generations of Americans have had to delay gatherings because of war and other emergencies.  We can hope that the present travesty will be ended some time in the near future if for no other reason than because a vaccine is imminent.

Secondly, I want to say that content may be a little sparse here because of all this merrymaking.  I intend to put out posts as often as possible but usually there is a lull in news and in web traffic during the holidays so the resource and the need may both lag to some degree.  But I intend to put up various reviews of movies, tv shows, books and other items that I think will be of general interest.  And I will continue to look for content from guest contributors.  So if you have something you’d like to contribute leave a note in the comments and I’ll get back to you.

Thirdly and lastly, I’d like to just address the election situation.  Many gloom and doomers seem extremely eager to throw in the towel.  They call me every day with some latest disaster that they hope will convince me that I must join them in the ranks of the defeated.  I’ve asked several of them whether they’ll get some kind of early bird special bonus for conceding now rather than wait for the actual resolution.  I have to say I really don’t understand why they’re in a hurry to concede the election to Joe Biden.  That seems like a situation that I would want to delay for as long as humanly possible.  But to each his own.  Anyway, I’ll allow President Trump and his legal team all the time they need to plead their case before the Supreme Court.  I think that anyone who claims to know in advance how that decision will be made is mistaken.  My opinion, and it is just that, my opinion, is that the odds are exactly 50/50.  So I’d prefer to enjoy Thanksgiving and let the process play out.  There’s plenty of time to react to the facts on the ground once they are.  So I’ll wait until there’s something interesting to discuss and then I will.

Reclaiming the Family – Part 4 – Celebrating the Holidays Right

Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been a time when Americans get together with family and give thanks for the good things in their lives.  For Christians this is a holy season when they contemplate the beauty of the Holy Family and its Christmas story.  But even for non-Christians and even those with no faith there is a recognition by many that this celebration seems to radiate joy and hope to those involved.  I can remember a few truly awful human beings who, even if for a short period around the holidays, were noticeably better people because of Christmas.  Even scientists have lately come to think that belief in God is organically present in the human mind.  And for those of us who were brought up during the happier periods before the Progressives destroyed the culture, the celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas brings back thoughts and feelings of happiness and a sense of community that even found its way into Hollywood films and television shows of the time.  But just because the culture has descended into a depravity that derides or ignores the true spirit of these holidays there’s no reason for us to go along with it.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the biggest chances to reconnect with your family.  You’ve got at least a few days off and the kids and grandkids are off from school.  Here’s a chance to talk to the kids about things that are important to you and find out what’s going on in their lives.  And for you older folks like me I’m also talking about your grown children and their husbands and wives.  Ask them about their kids and what is going on in their lives.  And if you have the means, ask them if they could use a few bucks or even a hand with some problem they are having.

And turn off the damn phones and shut off the computers.  It won’t kill anybody to lose track of all the nonsense we are plugged into 24/7/365.  And turn off the television.  There’s literally nothing on that won’t damage your brain and soul.  The only exception I’ll make is if you will pick a good Christmas movie (preferably black and white) or two to watch with the kids.  But once it’s over shut the tv and hide the remote.

Have some fun things to do together.  One of the things we like to do is play cards.  The kids play war and Uno and the rest of us play penny ante poker.  It’s basically just an excuse to sit around a table together and talk and interact.  And, believe it or not, in my family the women even bond over the cooking and doing the dishes.  I’m not saying they enjoy the dishes but it’s something they complain about together and provides a stimulating male/female antagonism that everybody enjoys.  But maybe that’s just my family.  But at the very least show appreciation for the hard work that went into the dinner and praise it to the sky.  That’s a sacred duty.

Go to a Mass at your church if you’re religious and even if you’re not put on some good Christmas music but please try to avoid any of the current crop of pop celebrities.  If you have more than a day off then plan something bigger.  If you know of a holiday show or a good play look into it and see if anyone would like to go.  Go ice skating or skiing if that’s your thing.  Or go for a walk in the country if the weather permits.  Just make sure you talk with every single one in your family and make some kind of connection.  Make some memories.  Sure, you’ll get them their favorite toy or gadget but make it more than that.  Tell them what you like about the holidays and find out what would make it more fun for them.

And something that brings family together is stories about your extended family and the world that used to exist in the better times.  Sometimes old photographs and other memorabilia are interesting to the kids and grandkids.  Hearing about how their ancestors overcame the difficulties they experienced and how the families pulled together is a good example for the kids and encouraging even for us.  Celebrate these great holidays.  It’s your privilege and it’s your duty.