Saturday, April 26, 2008

Earth Day Follow-up

I watch Leno every night to see which candidate is being lampooned and to watch the overall change in attitudes since Jerry Lester had the Tonight show. What, you don’t remember Jerry Lester? Although Jack Paar was credited with being the originator of the long running show (55 years) it was Jerry Lester who occupied the time slot in the early fifties. He and his trusty foil, Dagmar, pioneered the concept and the television audience embraced the schtick.

The subsequent changes have been huge. Paar, once chided for using the expression “water closet” in the act has been replaced by those who show no hesitation is using any form of crude language short of George Carlin’s famous list of “words you can’t say on TV”— which sometimes are said anyway. Further, no person is off limits when it comes to dealing scorn, innuendo, and false impressions. It’s called “freedom of speech.” Your individual response will be gauged by whose ox is being gored. George Bush’s ignorance, Arnold’s accent, Bill’s peccadilloes, Hillary’s cackle, Craig’s foot tapping, and Trump’s hair, are all revisited in the opening monologue.

The failure of an American Idol contestant is acknowledged by the audience with a round of raucous cat calls and boos. A comment on an important issue of the day before the court or the congress nets the observation of the audience sitting on their hands. But, this week, seriousness has come over the show. It is the “sacredness” of Earth Day which has been conveniently expanded into “Earth Week.” Not so much a celebration but rather an observation of the day, it has been the highlight of the program. It is treated with great respect and a level of demeanor which is rarely afforded to any event or person. This change in presentation causes us to pause and wonder why.

The say, “follow the money.” Okay, let’s do it. NBC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the gigantic General Electric Corporation. This huge conglomerate made a corporate decision some years ago, when Jack Welch was replaced by Jeffrey Immelt as CEO, to get on the ecological bandwagon and rightly foresaw the future of “going green.” Seeing a financial opportunity, it both started up and expanded upon various sub-companies to ramp up their presence in this ever expanding portion of the market place. Given the immense size of their operations, the vast array of fields to exploit was endless. Their interests are not just confined to the outright manufacture of “green” products but also extend to supplying critical parts and systems.

That screwy light bulb which has the ecologists agog and will soon be mandatory—by the US congress—is made by GE. Systems for electric powered automobiles are made by GE. Gigantic wind turbines for the generation of renewable power (highly subsidized) are a product of GE. Water filtration systems and water conserving washing machines are manufactured by GE. Nuclear power components for use here in the US and in foreign countries are a staple of the GE inventory. In transportation, both fuel efficient jet engines and the new Evolution locomotive were developed by GE. Even a replacement for paint with a film is soon coming on line for GE. These are just a few of the developments which GE hopes will transform their operations from eco-tragedy to king of the ecological hill.

Before you become all misty eyed about GE’s contribution to Gaia, let me assure you that there is an excellent reason for their ardor. The company announced that their progress in the field will result in an extension of the $10,000,000,000 sales in 2004 to reasonably expand to $20,000,000,000 by the year 2010. Their profit margin, variously reported to be in excess of 10%, exceeds that of the much maligned oil companies.

When you read your act off a teleprompter, you have a contractual obligation to read what’s written. I always try to keep in mind that what ever is said on the television is the result of input from the writers and not the performers. Even off-the-cuff remarks by game show contestants are subject to editing, revision, or complete erasure if they become inappropriate.. From personal experience I will share that one spends more time with the legal department before a taping than is spent during the show itself. About the only thing left for the performer is the nuance of delivery. Therefore, the input from the owner of the show, the advertisers and the management are what control the dialog.

Since GE owns the network and stands to benefit from emphasis on matters ecological it makes sense they would place undue emphasis on the proceedings. Before I am accused of “corporation” bashing allow me to mention I think that progress to ameliorate the problems facing our collective environment are laudable. I would much rather see that progress from a profit oriented corporation than a tax and spend government. Almost without exception the great achievements and innovations of mankind have been motivated by some guy trying to make a buck. Some happen by accident—the microwave is probably the best example—but most are achieved by a desire to fill a market niche.

It’s all part of the multi-million dollar ad campaign to promote “Ecomagination.” Since they still face an outlay of over 460 million to rid the Hudson River of PCBs deposited there years ago by careless waste removal at one of their facilities, they need all the good press than can afford to buy. Part of that will come from airing the Olympic Games on NBC Universal from China which has promised an $85 billion clean up by the start of the games. GE will be a prime supplier of systems to aid in the clean up.

Why should I bother to waste your time and mine in commenting on this? It’s simple; I feel an obligation to encourage you to look past the obvious and seek the inner workings of that which is occurring all around us. It’s not enough to accept that which the media would feed us. Check it out, double check, find the motives, learn the truth and actually be informed on every thing you can. In the miraculous world of communication today you have the tools readily available to do just that. All you need is the will and the few minutes it takes. This applies equally to business, government, education, politics, medicine, and I really hate to mention it—religion. Find out for yourself. What is the agenda?

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Ladies, God Bless Them

As the battle of the sexes continues apace, I was fortunate to locate an article in the London Times which shed a light on the struggle. Although more experienced than average, I confess to having moments of puzzlement in how to deal with the ladies. Tad Safran, the author of the piece shares his thoughts and observations and many of you (male) may be enlightened by his studies.

“Everything I know about women . . .

. . . Our correspondent learnt from his two-year-old niece – from not making her cry to the art of gift giving

Tad Safran

As a single man in my mid-thirties, I’ve spent 20 years trying to understand women, with mixed results. It wasn’t until six months ago, however, that I was given a clear insight into how the female mind works.

It came in the form of Lou-Lou, my two-year-old niece. I know, as a grown-up, that the onus is on me to teach her useful stuff rather than the other way around, but in this case, the instruction was mutual. I taught her how to wink, blow raspberries, burp and count to 10, sort of. “One, two, three, seven, nine, ten”, which is good enough for me, as, personally, I’ve always thought the numbers four, five, six and eight were overrated.

In return, I learnt more about women in two months than I had gleaned on my own in two decades. This does not mean, by the way, that I think women are like two-year-olds and should be treated as such. I love my niece. I respect my niece. I’d dive on an unexploded grenade for my niece, and not just to amuse her. I would only dive on it if there was real danger of it exploding and hurting her. Women are all individuals and I’m making generalisations, but in the two-year-old Lou-Lou is the undiluted, unaffected essence – the “id” – of womanhood. Here’s what I’ve learnt.

1 Ignore them

If I come into a room and bounce up to Lou-Lou like a clown, trying to amuse and entertain, she blanks me completely. It’s as if I don’t exist. If I walk straight past her, however, I guarantee she will call out my name and want to play with me.

2 Bribe them

Gifts work. Preferably something noisy or sparkly. With Lou-Lou, that means stuffed animals that sing or sequined hair grips. With grown women, I suppose that equates to, say, cars and jewellery.

3 Compliment them

I’ve mistakenly always held that compliments are like diamonds: valuable only for their scarcity. Flood the market and they lose all value. Not so. Lou-Lou poos in her nappy, everyone cheers – as if she just came up with a workable solution to world hunger – and she beams like a lighthouse. The same works with grown women, although, of course, only the general principle applies rather than the specific example given here. (I learnt this one the hard way.)

4 Listen to them

I’ve spent my life trying to preempt what women want. I needn’t have bothered. If I just pay attention, Lou-Lou will tell me exactly what she wants: eat, dance, doll, jump, run, sing, play, read. Then all I have to do is organise it. How much simpler my life would have been if I had listened and acted accordingly.

5 Apologise

It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you don’t even know what you’ve done. I might have slighted Lou-Lou by putting the wrong doll in the pram. What seems to you or me like a minor infraction is, to her, on a par with genocide. The best policy is to throw yourself on her mercy and beg forgiveness. But you must sound sincere. You don’t have to be sincere, just sound sincere. This is so elementary, yet how many men ignore this advice?

6 Let them do it

Whatever “it” is. No matter how ridiculous it may seem to you, let her do it. When Lou-Lou gets an idea into her mind, there’s no talking her out of it. In fact, be supportive, encourage her even. Then sit back and hope she discovers for herself that it was a stupid idea. The downside is that she might decide it was an excellent idea. One day, I found myself playing dolls’ tea party for two whole hours and drank so many cups of imaginary tea, I was imaginary peeing all afternoon.

7 Don't tell them what to do

The best way to guarantee that she doesn’t do what I want is by telling her to do it. The clever thing is to make it seem like her idea – and make it seem fun. One of my proudest moments was convincing Lou-Lou that watching the rugby World Cup final would be more fun than playing in the sandpit.

8 Don't complain to them

This is a tricky one. What I mean by this is, don’t burden her with your petty problems. When I complain to Lou-Lou about a bad meeting or a sore back, she couldn’t care less, but if there’s genuinely something wrong, she will instinctively sense it and, with one hug, pick me up more than I thought possible.

9 Don't argue

There’s simply no point. You will never win, and if you do win, it will be a hollow victory because of the mood she’ll be in for a long time afterwards. Quite frankly, who needs the aggro? This leads to my final and most important point:

10 Don't make them cry

There is nothing more distressing than watching Lou-Lou’s enormous, innocent brown eyes overflow with tears, while her mouth becomes a gaping, drooling, mournful air-raid siren that pierces through to the core of my heart. I’m utterly defenceless when she cries. And there’s no known antidote. Food? Monkey impressions? A pony? Stabbing myself in the eye with a chopstick? I will agree to anything to stop her crying – and doesn’t she.”

Although Mr. Safran is presently single, he is obviously preparing himself for the ultimate “mortal combat" which we call marriage. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you read the piece and recognized some universal truths. The most significant is his desire to sublimate his own interests to recognize and love his niece. Well done, Tad.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wikipedia – A Reliable Source?

After what I discovered on the net today, I am rejoicing that I have never quoted Wikipedia.. We attempt to be scrupulous with the information in our posts and prefer to link websites where we get the information. When opinions are stated we attempt to be equally careful. We even check the links within the links and are ever watchful for misinformation.

The very nature of Wikipedia makes it a candidate for scrutiny. From a democratic point of view, they allow readers to become contributors. If you have any degree of expertise on a subject you may edit it yourself. What they don’t reveal is that after the changes in an entry are made, they are subject to further review by in house editors. This supposedly protects against biased entries and faulty data. As a reader, you are not protected from any bias on the part of the editor.

To demonstrate this possibility, I suggest you check on this link. After you read it, you will never look at Wikipedia in the same light again. At least I know I won’t. Since I have some pretty obvious opinions about the gloom and doomers of the “warming” movement this piece probably resonated to a greater degree (pun intended.) The loss is then to the credibility of Wickipedia and to those who would quote it thinking there was a measure of consistent fairness and lack of bias.

I have observed in writing nearly 200 essays in the last nine months that maintaining fairness can be a chore. It is especially so when discussing religion and politics. That’s why we don’t do it at the “holiday” dinner table with family and friends. To tinker with resource material is a violation of an otherwise “safe haven” and will now require investigation of the other 3,000,000 references on Google on each subject. It’s more cumbersome but maintaining the integrity of the blog is worth it.

Considering how the media and the wire services corrupt the “news” I should probably not have been so naïve as to give Wikipedia the trust I did. I apologize because I really am old enough to know better. Therefore, consider yourself warned.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Birthdays, Ecology and Tyrants

Browsing this morning has led me to the conclusion that April has to be the prime month for birthdays and anniversaries. For me, the parade would be led by the April 1st birthday of my late brother, Craig. Of the three items featured in the title of this post, only one referred to him. Although in retrospect he may have been considered a late blooming ecologist. He gave up moto-cross (very destructive to the landscape) for skiing which may well be one of the most earth friendly sports. Any damage done is melted by midsummer.

To Restorationists and millions of Mormons, April marks the birth date of the formation of the church. For Christians generally, April has special connections to the life of Christ. To patriots, the 18th of April in “75” signals the anniversary of Paul Revere’s famous ride from Boston through the countryside. The following day marks “the shot heard round the world.” The founding of National Park Service, the assassination of Lincoln, and congressional approval of “In God We Trust” on coins all occurred during April.

In 1789 on April 21st, our “first” president was sworn in, John Adams, preceding the swearing in of Washington by nine days. As I read the constitution, that would make him first. Each of you probably makes an association with some April date which is the result of your own personal interest.

Before we proceed further, allow me to inject a quote which I found particularly significant:

“When people attempt to rebel against the iron logic of nature, they come into conflict with the very same principles to which they owe their existence as human beings. Their actions against nature must lead to their own downfall.”

Today we celebrate the birthday of Vladimir Lenin (1870.) It is also the 38th “Earth Day.” Many claim that this is just a coincidence. Others maintain it was intentional. In the socialist mind, no outlandish claim is too far out to be asserted. I suppose that having the original on Lenin’s 100th birthday was an accident too.

The collectivist experiment and the subsequent enslavement of not just people but the earth itself is still readily apparent in both the former Soviet Bloc states and Russia itself. Mindless land usage and toxic dumping have rendered huge land areas useless and great lakes and seas polluted beyond imagination. Considering the mind set of the folks who initiated “Earth Day” I tend to discount denial and see it as intentional. After the participation of millions in the first “Earth Day” they changed the original date from the 30th of March to Lenin’s birthday. Had they just moved it up one more day they could have had it on the 31st and combined it with Al Gore’s birthday – and mine!

Among the industrialized countries, Russia is probably the most careless about land use and preservation for future generations. The tragedy at Chernobyl has fouled land measured in thousands of square miles. Given the lack of success of the system, the country is so near bankruptcy that the cleanup necessary to restore the earth is out of the question from a financial perspective.

Many other famous people were born in April and many of those might have been more appropriate. They include Shakespeare, U.S. Grant, Booker T. Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Catherine the Great, Queen Elizabeth II, Jay Leno, David Letterman and the most appropriate – John Muir. Had they moved the date up to the 20th they might have used the birth date of Adolph Hitler as the anchor point.

Hitler would have been a far better choice from an ecological point of view. He was a vegetarian, a strict agrarian and sought every means possible to promote sound practice in land usage. An ardent lover of animals he would have been welcomed among veterinarians if not synagogues. He recycled at a furious rate, turning every pot and pan he could get his hands on to further supply raw material for the arms industry. As evidence I urge you to reread the quote cited – it was taken from Hitler's Mien Kampf.

For those of us familiar with the scriptures, understanding dominion over our resources and faithful stewardship go hand in hand. We hardly need a special day to remind us to do every day that which we have been commanded. The Lord even advised us to forgo the Sabbath if “the ox was in the pit.” These things we do because it is our law. It also makes good sense.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Morning Rant 34

I shall always be indebted to Senator Obama for helping me realize just how miserable I really am. I may be officially counted as one of those “hicks” who has retreated to my guns and My God. In reverse order, they are definitely two of the most important things in my life. God, of course, comes first. Without Him, I have nothing. There is absolutely no feature of government which could possibly replace the gifts which He has provided. Since all of my rights under the constitution are God given, I can’t imagine turning to anyone else in times of either peril or ease. I’m sorry (not!) but you cannot possibly offer any change which will alter that.

I pondered this as I sat with the congregation in Miami (OK) Sunday morning and rejoiced at our worship experience. As I looked about at the beaming faces, loudly voicing their praise in ancient hymns, I felt sorry for those with the elitist attitude who were missing this moment. As the speaker, Cloyce Coffman, recounted the impatience of the Jews to get the sacred buildings and their trials in the process, I made latter day comparisons and hopefully gained insight into our present travails. I marveled at how prescient the quoted scriptures were and strove to take the appropriate message. I also promised myself to subject the books of Samuel to a closer examination this coming week.

Sometimes it’s good to have the air cleared. At least now, I know exactly what the Senator sees when he looks at me and my neighbors. He see pathetic, lost ,ignorant people where I rejoice in seeing brothers and sisters in Christ with love, charity and good will in their hearts. I shall pray for him.
Speaking of pathetic, I read a very heartening article in the Topeka Capitol Journal about the second worst bigot in the nation. It appears that Fred Phelps of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka was successfully sued by the family of an Iraq War military casualty for disrupting the funeral and causing pain and suffering to the family. He and the church now have a $5,000,000 liability as a result. Phelps stands to lose his law office building, the church, and all else except his home. It took a while but it appears the Maryland court will finally put an end to his shenanigans.

I personally doubt it will curtail his activities and anxiously await the next phase. I am amazed that some aggrieved relative has not dispatched him by now. Most people have difficulty matching his complaints with the level of grief of losing a loved one in battle.
I didn’t cover this earlier because I didn’t want to disrupt your Easter Holiday. I also knew that most (?) of you were in Independence to attend the various conferences. But, speaking of criminals of vile intent, The Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago was the scene of an intrusion by war protesters who were throwing fake blood about and disrupting the services. The intruders had dual membership in the International Solidarity Movement as well as Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War. The latter is a performance art group with apparent leftist ties. The assault came during the sermon and was witnessed by the most upscale parish in the diocese. Since many of the parishioners have near celebrity status, the event is also widely covered by the media.

The perpetrators were taken from the building by security guards and ushers and turned over to Chicago police and each was booked with felony criminal damage to property and simple battery. Whenever I see something like this, I often wonder how one of our congregations would react. Often as I look to the dais of a Restoration Branch I see 3 to 5 good men with an average age of 72 to 75. Have the younger men in the pews been briefed on how to respond to a disruption in the services? Could we protect our wives, children, and oldsters from this sort of indignity? Have we ever even discussed it?

It strikes me that a small amount of preparation could certainly ameliorate any potential damage or injury, if we had the will to take action and anticipate problems before the fact. We don’t really anticipate a fire or a cyclone but we carry insurance just the same. The difference is that this type of thing requires some hands on involvement. It is my prayer that this is a foolish entry and really doesn’t ever require any response.
Speaking of Catholics; I found it courageous and timely for the visiting pope to firmly address the problem of pedophile priests both historically and with regard to the future. I came away with the impression that he would deal firmly and honestly with the issue and pursue a solution which would strengthen the faith. It would be wonderful if this problem were the exclusive property of the Church of Rome; it is not.

Before we breathe a sigh of relief and point fingers, we must honestly admit that there is no body of believers which are entirely free of those who openly flaunt the laws of God and man as well. Only the most dedicated “ostrich” could ignore our own problems and those of our neighbors. The adversary is in a constant effort to undermine the works of God. His most fertile ground is those who propagate the faith and earn the trust of the vulnerable. Even though we are not here to judge that does not mean that we have to be blind as well.

Every item in this mornings rant points in the same direction. We as Saints must be ever alert. We must be able to detect insincerity, un-Christian behavior, criminal action, and violation of trust. To allow any of these things to slide is to insult our Savior.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon