A Few Words

It’s awfully quiet around here. There’s always either hustle or sometimes bustle in this house and not infrequently a mixture of the two. But Faith is at work late tonight, the birds are uncharacteristically calm, Sly is amusing herself with personal hygiene… Oh, and NW, the Reverend Mother and Tiger Lilly have flown the coup, gotten out of Dodge, rendered themselves scarce.

It’s times like these that try men’s souls, suggest mischief, feel real peaceful.

Ahhh, I hear the pitter patter of wife feet. G’day!

Rubber Stamp Only. No Reading Required.

by The Son@Night

Voting without reading
Blind stumblebums and thieves
Spending without needing
Who cares what it achieves?
It’s nothing but illusion,
A pretense and a sham
Captured by delusion
All hail our Uncle Sam!

There has been a disturbing habit in Congress as of late, purposely ramming through votes before anyone has had the opportunity to read the legislation in question. It happened back in February when Congress passed the massive stimulus bill and it happened again yesterday when the House of Representatives passed the Cap and Trade National Energy Tax bill. Both of these bills were controversial and close. It seems that Congressional leadership did not want anyone looking too closely under the hood before buying the vehicle. Tactically this makes sense. After all, both bills passed. Ethically? Not so much. Your government does not want anyone to understand what is happening before it happens. That can’t be a good sign.
This post at the Corner examines the phenomenon more closely and proposes a solution.

Calling My Congresswoman

by Son@Night

I’ve always considered it easier to complain about what Congress is doing than actually get in touch with my representative and tell her (my rep is Betty McCollum) how I would like her to vote.  But I read this morning that Congress will be considering the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade bill this week.  It sounded as if this might be another rush job, like the unpopular “stimulus” bill earlier this year.  There is  the Fourth of July weekend coming up and what better place to kill public interest in a controversial vote than in a long weekend of barbecuing, family fun, and patriotism? 

So I found the phone number for Betty and politely told her to please vote “no” on the cap and trade bill.  Why no?  Under the guise of environmental responsibility, it will seek to tax production.  The simple minded among us will shout “hurrah” that nasty businesses pay taxes for their sins, but the rest of us know that these costs get passed along to consumers.  In other words, the Congress is considering passing a hidden tax on everyone.  I’ve heard numbers bandied about suggesting that the cost isn’t that bad.  Poppycock.  No matter what the rosy promises might be, in fact this bill will tie an anchor around the American economy.  We don’t need that now.  We don’t need that period.

So I would encourage you to get in touch with your representative.  If you haven’t done it before, it’s pretty painless.  Just look up your rep’s phone number here.

“Ben” there

By Son @ Night

A bit more than three years ago, the Nightwriter posted a picture of Faith wagging her finger at me in front of Big Ben.  It really made me smile at the time and left an impression on my memory.

Faith wagging her finger at Ben in 2006.

Faith wagging her finger at Ben in 2006.

So when we were traipsing about London on our honeymoon we decided that we needed to take the shot again, but this time with a fantastic, new reality in place.  So here you go, Faith and Big Ben in London, v2.0.

Faith wagging her finger at Ben in 2009.

Faith wagging her finger at Ben in 2009.

Sure, it’s not an exact replica.  It’s better!  And that’s exactly as it should be.

By the way, I’ve started going through the 700+ pictures from our trip and will be posting some of the more interesting ones in the days to come.

Noble Goals Never Fulfilled (a ramble)

by The Son@Night

The following is a question and answer from an interview with Gloria Steinem in the Star Tribune this morning.

Is the recession America is now experiencing disproportionately affecting women?

It obviously is.

Now let’s take a look at that old conservative rag, the New York Times.

The proportion of women who are working has changed very little since the recession started. But a full 82 percent of the job losses have befallen men, who are heavily represented in distressed industries like manufacturing and construction. Women tend to be employed in areas like education and health care, which are less sensitive to economic ups and downs, and in jobs that allow more time for child care and other domestic work.

There appears to be a credibility gap. Just what would it take for Gloria Steinem to admit that women aren’t victims in need of her brand of feminism? When women are still “disproportionately affected” by this economic downturn when men are absorbing 80% of the layoffs this year, I think it becomes clear that there is nothing in the world that would convince her. Or rather, maybe she’s not actually interested in equality for men and women so much as she is in pushing her own political agenda?

Of course this is an exercise in the obvious and will surprise no one. But somehow this type of thinking, that women still have a long way to go to achieve equality, still gets trotted out year after year. We’ve still got to fix rampant sexism! When will we finally overcome this problem? Only when it is politically expedient to let go of it.

While this issue is certainly important, the assumption that Gloria Steinem and so many adopt and how society learns to view this assumption is far more important. The basic assumption is this, that society is perfectible if only we try hard enough and are willing to do what is necessary. That almost sounds noble. But it isn’t. Because “what is necessary” always requires more of your freedom and more of your funding. The noble goal always remains just out of reach.

This type of positivist thinking was prevalent prior to the world wars, as modern society seemed on an inexorable march of progress. As standards of living rose, life spans stretched, and human capabilities shot through the roof, only curmudgeons could possibly deny that societal perfection was a rational goal. The only question was how we might achieve it. The human cruelty of the world wars disabused some of this notion, and the spectacular failure of communism made it even clearer. But it remains a very enticing thought. And it remains the foundation of modern liberalism.

But positivist thinking is bankrupt. Society is not perfectible and humans certainly are not. Every time we try another experiment to reach the noble goal, “unforeseen consequences” swoop down and saddle us with more problems. Social Security, welfare, the war of drugs, etc… are all examples of this. They sound like great ideas, but they cost more than advertised and they work worse. Quick, name a government program that costs less than envisioned and works better! It just doesn’t happen. Yet many persevere in the quest for societal perfection.

That is where we are at today. We elected a leader who campaigned on quixotic positivism. Yes we can! Alas, the “unforeseen consequences” are licking their chops just offstage. Our president, like Steinem, wants to point us to unreachable goals couched in warm sentiment. But it isn’t about reaching the goals, because any fool knows that perfection can’t happen this side of Nadia Comaneci, it is about power and pushing a political agenda.

Beware of noble goals coming out of the halls of government. This world does not know perfect and anyone pushing it is either a deceiver or deceived.

When Things Go Beep

by The Son@Night

In the previous post King David wonders, “I hope they brought back some marmite with them; I know Ben always spoke highly of it and how much he loved it. (or did that get confiscated at the airport as a banned substance[?])”

He really hit a nerve with that question. You see, eight days ago I was traumatized by airport security at London Heathrow. In preparing for our trip back from the old country Faith and I had carefully packed our various items in two suitcases and two carry-ons so as to maximize efficiency, spread the weight to avoid surcharges, and protect against breakages. For the most part this worked well. Nothing was broken and we didn’t have to pay anything extra for heavy suitcases, though they were heavy! But one part of our plan went disastrously wrong.

I passed through the metal detector without causing alarm and was beginning to congratulate Faith that we’d run the gauntlet successfully when a fateful noise rang out “BEEP!” My bag was shoved to one side for inspection. “Fiddlesticks,” I thought, “they’re going to root about in my bag like truffle seeking pigs.” The ‘truffle seeking pig’ in question was an amiable women in her forties. Upon finding some vacuum sealed jars from the grocery store she apologetically explained that the police state in Britain loved free food and would be requiring mine. “But you can buy some more duty free! The store’s right over there.”

I passed on the opportunity to replace my purloined items, not least because I was all out of pounds. Then, as we sat and waited for our gate assignment, Faith encouraged me not to be bitter and I knew that she was right. And so I relate this story out of sadness and grief, not anger. I’m sure that some government bureaucrat in London needed another jar of Branston Pickle for his bag lunch. I’m sure it was very tasty.

Area Couple Enjoys Abstinence!

This is Ben and Faith. Hi! Earlier today the Night Writer directed our attention to an article about a couple who had waited until their wedding to kiss (hubba hubba! btw). They are both abstinence instructors in the Chicago area schools and they decided together to match their words and their actions. It sounded great to us.

Then we dipped our toesies into the Comment section. There were some supportive and congratulatory comments left by folks. And there were all manner of derogatory comments. Huh? Now just what would the fine readers of the Chicago Tribune have against a couple who waited until marriage to do… um, marriagey things? NW is going to get into some particulars about the logical fallacies, ad stupidem attacks and just plain silliness that some peeps took the time to type. For our part, we just wanted to write this post to chuckle.

Chuckle? Yes, you heard what we said. You see, we haven’t kissed yet and we are having a great time! How is this possible? Can future husband and wife have a good time without, uh, “having a good time”? You’d better believe it! But you’d never know it from most of those comments! If we trusted all of those comments to reflect reality then we’d both be weird perverts who are mentally disturbed or gay or, (wait for it)… just like Hitler! I kid you not. There was this one dude who busted out the Nazi argument to try to dis abstinence! Ich bin ein Berliner! Ja!!!

Now that’s all pretty silly, right? Of course it is. For our part, for the time being, we are getting to know each other better and better. We are learning to laugh, to pray, to talk, to worship, to compromise, to collaborate and to complement each other. In short, we are spending time learning how to be best friends. Fear not! The loverly stuff will take care of itself when it’s time.


Night Writer here. As Faith and Ben said, I have some commentary on the, um, commentary that accompanied the original newspaper article. It seems some people have had some very strong, very negative reactions about two people with an alternative lifestyle getting married according to the dictates of their conscience. As I write this there are currently 290 comments on the original three or four paragraph article. Many are positive but most aren’t, and the negative ones seemed to fall into a few common buckets. You can read them individually for yourself, but in the name of tolerance and diversity, allow me to address these comments here by theme or by representative quotes.

How can you really know a person without physical intimacy? (Related: what if they’re a bad lover, or hiding something, what if your sex drives aren’t compatible?)
This is the obvious response, and one raised in the article as well — shouldn’t you try something out before you “buy” it? Of course, if you buy the logic that not having sex before you’re married is a sure recipe for marital trouble you’d naturally have to believe that having sex before marriage is a major factor in today’s record-low divorce rate. My experience is that sex may make you physical, but it hardly makes you intimate. In fact, once sex enters the relationship it clouds your ability (or even your desire) to properly evaluate your partner’s character, personality and long-term goals if doing so could interfere with getting sex. Rather than taking the time to talk out important issues, or raise questions about troubling actions or statements by the other person, you keep quiet so as not to cause a fight that might mean “no sex tonight.” At the very least, you take up time that could be invested in finding out what the other person is really like.

The physical passion will eventually wane to some extent but the person’s character and personality will stay the same. A person’s inherent witchiness or sloth, ambition (or lack thereof), the number of kids s/he wants, the way s/he treats others — all can be missed during the “interview” process while you’re focusing on immediate gratification.

The question, at heart, is a good one but it is missing the crucial point. It is important to find out in advance “who” your partner is, how s/he performs under pressure and if you’re “compatible”; these are all things, however, that are better revealed before physical intimacy takes place. Sexual compatibility ultimately comes from knowing you have a partner you trust and understand, and who trusts and understands you. And let’s not forget that the most important sex organ is the brain. Good sex — no, great sex — begins long before you ever get into bed.

Why don’t they allow themselves to be alone or to kiss — don’t they have any self-control? Does abstinence mean ‘no kissing’?
Wise people know that good intentions are often overcome by passion and “weak moments” are often the result of negligence or poor planning. The solution is simply to not put yourself in situations where temptation can easily have it’s way; not out of fear of the act, but out of wisdom and a firm and common understanding of what is really important to each of you. Kissing doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of abstinence, but it does tend to inflame the passions and natural desire you have for one another. Making a habit of it continually raises the stakes and lowers resistance, making it more agonizing to back away.

I’m reminded of the scene in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou:

Delmar: Gopher, Everett?
Everett: No thank you, Delmar. I’m afraid one-third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without beddin’ her back down.

How many times can you go into Old Country Buffet and confine yourself to the appetizer table before you can’t help but rush over to the main courses and desserts? And the best way to avoid speeding tickets isn’t to buy a radar detector, but to not speed in the first place.

Why deny our human desires just because of some invisible guy up in the sky / religion teaches us to fear and deny the physical / God made us to enjoy sex!
Setting God aside (for the moment), there are very good natural as well as supernatural reasons to be careful about sex, such as unintended pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases, abortion, child support and invitations to appear on the Jerry Springer Show. Then there’re all the “exes”: ex-wife, ex-gf, ex-bf and extraordinarily complicated holiday schedules. Have you ever noticed that “ex” is two-thirds of the word “sex”?

Perhaps a loving God, not an angry one, really wants the best for us and would like to see us avoid all these ugly complications so he offered some rules on how to use the free will and other gifts he gave us in ways that enhance our life and our ability and capacity to help others.

“Why do we reward this kind of behavior by making celebrities of these fanatics? These freaks have no business anywhere near our youth!” Yeah, don’t they know that we’re supposed to be making celebrities of all those bed-hopping actors, actresses, heiresses and rock stars! The nerve of some people!

“Let’s be honest he’s gay or he’s lying. She’s definitely a flake, so good luck with that. They both need to grow up!”
I’m continually amazed at the number of psychics, mind-readers and psychiatrists trolling the comment sections of newspapers and blogs; nearly as many as those with the special ability to make up statistics on the spot.

“It scares me that these people are teaching our children about important issues of sexual health.” It scares me that there are people out there who can’t abide someone daring to tell their children, “No.”

Who’s naked in the woods?

We were hiking one day,
Up the Cascade,
When by some lost trousers,
We were way-laid.

In spite of this shock,
and the fear that it brought,
We hiked ever onward,
Toward the views that we sought.
We had just stopped for lunch,
On the Mountain of Moose,
When we were accosted,
By socks walking loose.

In spite of this sight,
(And Lord, it weren’t right)
We hiked ever onward
Through September light.
We had just hopped about
On the rocks in the river,
When out crawled these undies
And made us all shiver.

We were appalled!
There was no time to stall,
Lest we see some ol’ fellow
Hiking au naturel !

In the Land of Cupcakes

Hey there, this is Uncle Ben. Diva is off in the kitchen right now, about to put the frosting on some cupcakes because it is, after all, Cupcake Friday. No word on what kind they are, but I heard some monkey shrieking so I think it might be something like banana or coconut. I’ll go check!

Oh for the love of Pete. There are three women in the kitchen doing a photo shoot with cupcakes. “You’ve got to add some craisins to the plate for color!” “Don’t you dare touch that plate or I’ll smack you upside the head with this spatula!!!” “Can’t we all just get along?”

Hmm, it’s a pretty open question as to whether they’ll ever get a photo out of this. It might just devolve into a cupcake flinging fight. Hey, now that would be cool! I’ll be right back!


You naughty Ben! Get off my blog! Anyway, these are Coconut Kiss Cupcakes (no, no kissing was actually involved). The recipe is from Couture Cupcakes. Enjoy!

Artistry by PFF

The closest you're gonna get. Go make your own!