I loved the National Lampoon when I was in college / the wilderness. It was funny, irreverent, profane, and staffed by very talented humorists including P J O’Rourke. I’m sure I’d find much of what I laughed at uproariously back then pretty offensive now, but good humor has truth at its heart.
This year I’m reading through the Bible in chronological order. Today as I read in the Gospel of John, Chapter 9 the Pharisees were investigating the healing of a man who had been born blind. They couldn’t decide whether to condemn Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath or to condemn him for having the power to bring sight to the blind just on general principle.
Their world-view made it impossible for them to think outside the box of their own religious traditions. They could not comprehend His role as The Good Shepherd. Some of them thought he was mad and possessed by demons, while some argued that a demon could not open the eyes of a blind man. The Pharisees despised Christ’s challenge to the status quo. His very existence was, to them, an act of rebellion.
I find that not to live as a free man is to live in spiritual blindness.
Like Amish Velcro, government solutions are all oxymorons. Whatever the so-called problem our permanent political class tries to solve, the end result is always the same– a new and worse problem created by the one size fits all “remedy”, along with diminished freedom and human dignity.
They say that there are so many laws on the books now– local, state, and federal– that each one of us commits about three felonies every day.
When the government is so huge that it can toss you in the slammer just for going about your daily life, they have you just where they want you.
I found this while going through a box of old photographs from my Dad’s apartment. He recently moved from his retirement home to a Nursing Home.It’s a handmade card that I gave him in the early 1960s. Drawn on cardboard, based on one of his favorite comic strips, B.C., by Johnny Hart. I found it touching that he kept it tucked away for all these decades. It also gave me a bit more understanding of why I still have all sorts of little gifts that my sons, Spencer and Hudson made for me over the years.
I have a small round cardboard box with little seashells glued to the top in my desk drawer. I use it to hold paper clips. In our bathroom there’s an assorted collection of crude little sculptures and bowls crafted in art class and fired in kilns, not to mention the handmade Christmas tree ornaments that appear from dusty boxes dragged out of the attic every year.
Hopefully, when the boys are cleaning out my house they’ll stumble upon these tiny hidden treasures that they had forgotten about, and have the same warm wash of happy memories that I experienced when I found this old memento drawn on a scrap of shirt cardboard.
Those small gifts from sons to fathers got me thinking about the circle of life and the ultimate gift. If you’re unsure what that gift is, maybe Johnny Hart’s comic strip below can clear things up for you.
No wonder B.C. was one of Dad’s favorites.
On this day in 2010, Cecil Fulfer was murdered in his home at Holly Lake Ranch in Wood County, East Texas. He was stabbed in the chest. No arrests have ever been made. I’d known Cecil since elementary school and through junior high and high school. We were never what I would call extremely close friends, but I feel a deep bond with all my classmates– especially the ones that I remember from my six formative years at Walnut Hill Elementary.
Cecil was popular in high school, a cheerleader and very active in the youth group at Northway Baptist Church. Not exactly a macho guy, but never strikingly effeminate, he bleached his hair blonde. There were a few subtle tells– for example he had always run and thrown like a girl even in elementary school. Still, a lot of the girls had huge crushes on him, but I don’t remember him ever really dating or going steady with anyone.
Cecil and I were in Concert Choir, and also a more elite musical group called Rebelution. A silly name, I know, but in those days we were the Thomas Jefferson Rebels, before we were forced to adopt the more politically correct mascot, the Patriots. Our senior year we were in the High School musical, Hello Dolly. I was Horace Vandergelder, the male lead and he was Ambrose Kemper, a supporting character who is the starving artist love interest of Vandergelder’s weepy niece, Ermengarde.
After high school, I never really sang again except for a little karaoke, but Cecil went on to make a living in the theater.
I had reconnected with him at a luncheon in Dallas honoring Jack Cannon, the Concert Choir Director at Thomas Jefferson High School. We chatted a bit and I told him that I lived in Tyler. He said that he was staying with his sister near Hawkins and that we should get together sometime. I had to leave a bit early to come home, and I made it a point to hand business cards to most of my old classmates who were in attendance.
I gave one to Cecil. At Jack’s luncheon, we couldn’t help but notice that something was not right in Cecil’s life. It was painfully obvious that he was involved in some kind of substance abuse. He was higher than Amy Winehouse, Anna Nicole Smith, Ted Kennedy, and Boris Yeltsin all rolled into one.
Months later, Cecil called me and wanted to know If I’d like to meet for lunch. We met at On The Border in Tyler. He arrived glassy eyed and obviously high on something, and during the course of our lunch, he had three margaritas. I told him about what I’d been doing and showed him pictures of Lisa and our boys. We had a grand time reminiscing about school days and old friends. He was funny, but a little melancholy. At one point he looked at me and said, “Wayne, you know I’m gay, right?” I said that we all had surmised as much for a long time and that it didn’t make any difference to me. “I think of you as an old friend, Cecil. Your sexuality is never going to change that.”
Once he’d come out to me he seemed more relaxed for a while. Maybe my acceptance put him at ease, or maybe it was the margaritas. We talked about other friends from school who were gay. In the 1970’s most homosexuals stayed in the closet. I’m sure that some of them never realize they were even in the closet until later in life. According to Cecil, most of them were swept away in the AIDS epidemic. Two of them, counting Cecil were murder victims.
We laughed and enjoyed our time together for at least two hours, and then the melancholy deepened and seemed to overwhelm him. Here was a gay man in his early fifties, looking back on his life and wondering what might have been. It was like having a once beautiful actress who found herself sidelined by middle age pour out her heart and soul to you complaining that the roles have dried up, the scripts have stopped coming, and the phone never rings anymore. I listened and tried to encourage him, at the same time trying to fathom the kind of pain he was dealing with. We all wrestle with sin in our lives, but not all of us accept the Grace that is available.
As we were about to leave I told him that I didn’t think he should drive. He mentioned that his “friend” was waiting for him in the car and would drive him home. “He’s been out there all this time! Why didn’t you have him come in with you?” He looked at the floor and shrugged. I could tell he had been worried that I would have judged him had his friend joined us. “Cecil, I know that you know the Gospel. And I know that my role is not to judge anyone.”
The last time I spoke with Cecil I was at a dinner party and my cell phone rang. He was near hysterics, still under the influence of whatever he was using to self-medicate. He’d talked to our friend, Nancy Stokes Goodwin (another alum from Walnut Hill Elementary who had lived a few doors down the street from the Fulfers. She played Dolly!) Her breast cancer had returned and had metastasized in her spine. Her prognosis was bad. She was dying, and he was inconsolable. I explained to him that Nancy was going to be fine– that she was saved by Grace and once her temporary assignment here on earth was over she would know no pain, suffering, or heartache. It seemed to be of no comfort to him.
I immediately called Nancy. She was her usual positive, upbeat self. She had a way of making peace with everything in life that most of us lack. She said she’d try and talk to Cecil. Sadly, that was the last time I spoke with either of them.
When Cecil was murdered, it was pretty big news in Holly Lake Ranch. Murder is pretty rare there. I was out of town and think I learned the news in an e-mail. Of course, the coverage in Tyler was relatively scant. What coverage there was, was not very flattering to the victim. The picture they used was a mug shot taken when Cecil was busted on a public intoxication charge.
I wonder if anyone will ever be arrested and tried for Cecil’s murder. Sadly, I also wonder if his case was never a priority for the Wood County Sherrif’s Department because he was a sad old gay man with substance abuse problems. I think of him often, and wish I could have helped him. We do what we can do.
For years I have been amazed at how the average person will place their trust in politicians. They elect someone to office because they have promised to solve problems, then do precious little toward those ends. When their term is up and they come back asking for people’s votes, they make the same empty promises, and the electorate sends them back to strike out again. The process is repeated for decades until the politicians reach their dotage, all the while enriching themselves at the public trough and growing government while shrinking the voters’ freedom.
There’s a reason why political races devolve into mud slinging rather than substantive debates on policy. If voters were to focus on the real issues that vex our country, and the candidates’ records, they’d realize that government is the worst tool to use to improve people’s lives. They might also see that career politicians are the last people in the world we should entrust with power.
When will YOU, regardless of your party affiliation, stop swallowing their sheep-dip?
They didn’t gripe when Zoe played Naytiri in blueface in that stupid movie Avatar. Of course that was way back in 2009 before only black lives mattered. Plus she was all computer generated and fighting to save that big tree from the evil Colonel Quaritch played by Stephen Lang.
The social justice warriors are apoplectic that Zoe wore make up to look more like Nina Simone. By the same logic, shouldn’t Daniel Day Lewis be castigated for not growing a real beard when he played the great emancipator in 2012’s revisionist history flick, Lincoln?
Imagine a future where a biopic of someone like Sir Francis Bacon has to be populated by a certain quota of black, Hispanic and Asian players. I guess in that future where all movies have the proper set-asides for the politically correct number of black, Hispanic, and Asian actors, any makeup required to make people look more like the characters they are playing will be banned.
Picture a world of biographical movies like that piece o’ crap Steve Jobs, where they didn’t even bother to change Michael Fassbender’s hair color or hair style to make him look more like the title character.
BTW. Stephen Lang and Robert Duvall had some nice make up when they played Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee in Gods and Generals.
This is a picture of North Korea at night seen from space. Notice how dark it is since they don’t have the resources to have electric lights like their neighbors, South Korea, Japan, and China.
In North Korea, starving people eat rats to supplement their meager diet. They still succumb and die in the streets by the thousands. In winter thousands more freeze to death.
It’s a Greenpeace paradise. Few fossil fuels, no coal burning electricity plants, minimal mechanized agricultural production.
The next time you hear some environmental activist tell you that global warming is killing us all, the next time you’re called a global warming denier when you point out that the the data simply does not indicate that the planet is warming, or you mention that New York city is not underwater like they said it would be, or comment that the polar icecaps are larger than they have been in years, and that the polar bear population is growing, not shrinking, that category 4 hurricanes have not devastated the US as they predicted, be prepared for them to go all Kim Jong Il on you. Watch them sputter about “settled science” or the so called “97% of scientists,” then If you don’t kowtow, get ready for the threats.
That’s right. They want you prosecuted under RICO statutes if you don’t accept whatever claims they make as unvarnished truth. They’ve been making outlandish claims since the original Earth Day in 1970.
“[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.”
— Newsweek magazine
“The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”
— Kenneth Watt
“Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
— Harvard biologist George Wald
“We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.”
— Washington University biologist Barry Commoner
“Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”
— New York Times editorial
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
— Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich
“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”
— Paul Ehrlich
“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,”
— Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day
“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
— North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter
“Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.”
— Paul Ehrlich
“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.'”
— Ecologist Kenneth Watt
“In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.”
— Life magazine
“At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”
— Ecologist Kenneth Watt
Let’s face it– if these alarmists had their way with our energy policy, our freedoms would dissolve, we’d be sitting in the dark, as thousands starved, and even more froze to death. Just like they do in North Korea.