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Monday, February 19, 2018

Birds in the Bush

In Oz the 'bush' is that vast interior far away from civilised cities, towns and even villages. Some other countries have their wild and desolate places too, where only the hardy individuals dare to share isolation with wild animals and wild weather.  Outback, Bondu, wilderness, the 'Back Country', whatever the name, such places are largely inaccessible by ordinary means or by ordinary men and women. The 'frontier' places. Getting there and through is not for the city car driver. Planes are necessary. Hardy, agile planes. In such places the ladies are few. But today a few of those ladies were spoken of in the Tavern and glasses raised to courage, persistence, sheer hard work and adventure.

A bird in the hand, it is said, is worth more then two in the bush, but there are exceptions to every rule. Here are two with whom any man would hold hands. For an aging Knight who loves women and planes, I, for one, was in for a treat. Here were men's women.

First up we heard of Leighan Falley, a spunky gal who has proven herself a hero's companion when the going gets tough.
Alaskan Bush Pilots have been the brave and iconic adventurers of the skies for over a century. They have tamed America's most outlandish natural landscapes thanks to their outstanding courage and one-of-a-kind gut instinct – and Leighan Falley, a Talkeetna-based pilot, is one of them. 
Falley is one of the very few female Alaskan pilots to continuously push boundaries in the great northern skies. 
Always graceful, even when under pressure, she explores Alaska's idyllic yet raw nature with the courage of an explorer, following her instincts, while calculating risks. 
“The first memory of my entire life is being in the backseat of my father's airplane,” Falley recalls. “I must have been a tiny baby, I remember feeling the airplane moving through the air and seeing the trees and the river below.” 
In Talkeetna, situated some 115 miles north of Anchorage on the southern edge of the Denali National Park, Falley is one of the Talkeetna Air Taxi pilots. The company was established in the 40s, the early days of Alaskan aviation, and currently runs 10 bush aircraft. 
“I moved to Talkeetna about 13 years ago and the summer I moved to town I learned to fly,” Leighan Falley smiles. “The first time I flew an airplane by myself – they call it your first solo – was probably one of the most amazing moments in my life.”

 In a northern wilderness filled with hazards – think blizzards and whiteouts, snow-covered glaciers, unexpected storms, heavy rains and wild rivers – raw survival skills are needed in addition to tech-savvy expertise, and Leighan Falley excels in both. “The part of Alaska that is accessible by road is very different from the one accessible by plane. The first is more comfortable, the second keeps you away from the craziness of the big city life. It's like having two different Alaskas. I like both parts, but prefer it when the road ends because this is when airplanes begin. 
I like to fly the Beaver, it's my favorite Alaskan Bush Plane,” she continues. “There's a famous sign in Talkeetna which is an advertising board for the early air taxis that says 'Fly an hour or walk a week'.” 
She flies to the remotest locations in Alaska in order to capture the adventurous everyday life of the Great North, while bringing mountaineers to their final destination and helping those in need.
Living her dream, Leighan Falley is not only a brave pilot, but also a mother, a ski guide, an alpinist, having reached the peak of Denali Mountain six times out of twelve expeditions. 
“Alaska is probably my favorite place on earth,” she continues. “I've been through different continents, climbed different mountain ranges, including the Himalaya, but Alaska is my favorite. It is so big and so wild, vast and untouchable. The biosphere is intact, the animals live in their natural habitat. Mountain ranges rise from a hundred meters to six thousand meters – it's simply beautiful. In a place as beautiful as Alaska, you have to have an airplane to see all of it,” she concludes. 
“Discovering Alaska and climbing its mountains is a journey that involves a lot of beauty, 
a lot of hardship, and a lot of testing yourself mentally and physically.”.
I am unsurprised she favours the Beaver. The quintessential Alaska bush plane, the DeHavilland Beaver occupies a seat of honor in the annals of aviation history. Perhaps no other airplane ever built has seen such a long career, and proven to be as indispensable today as it was when developed over 65 years ago.

The sturdily-built Beaver was designed to carry a lot of weight and operate effectively on either wheels or floats. Alaska Seaplanes' Beavers, for instance, all operate on straight floats in the summer for maximum payload, and amphibious floats in the winter for optimum flexibility. All their Beavers have advanced Capstone avionics packages with ADS-B real-time positioning capability.

With an ample useful load and the ability to carry up to six passengers, the Beaver is the perfect airplane for ferrying you to wilderness camping destinations—remote lakes, Forest Service cabins, islands and rivers.

It has 'reach', just like the fine gal above. 

Such 'reaching' is not confined by age  or to planes though. Leighan may be a modern young woman, cut from a very different cloth from 99% of her peers, but she shares a similar weave of hardiness, effort and self-reliance as several Oz ladies of a... ahem... more matured vintage.  They have reached out and tested themselves too.

Lydia Burton told of three ladies of the bush, of which I shall tell of just one here. Penny Button. She and the two others that you can follow the link to see, persisted alone after tragic losses of their menfolk. And continued life in the Bush on the vast 'stations' that are found in the Oz outback.

Meet the women who stay and work the land on their own despite tragedy
Three graziers, who each lost their husbands in separate tragedies, have taken on the running of enormous, remote sheep and cattle stations almost on their own.

Ann Ballinger, Penny Button and Ros Wood all lost their husbands suddenly.

Penny Button's eldest son Rodney died in a plane crash in 2003. Her husband Ian died of heart failure in 2006.
Losing both within three years, she found her connection to the property and community was her saving grace.
She owns Crossmoor station near Longreach, a vast 32,000-hectare property that, in a good year, can run up to 5,000 head of cattle.


"There's no truer saying than 'you don't know what you've got until you haven't got it'," she said.
"I just realise now the stress in running these properties and the tough side of things that he [Ian] shielded me from forever."
While for some the thought of flying again is unfathomable, Ms Button said it was just part of life in the bush. 

"My father was killed in a car accident, but you don't just not drive," she said.
"I did think about it and I don't think I did have a fly for a while. It wasn't deliberate bit I just didn't do it.
"Rodney was a very positive character and I think of him a lot. One of his great sayings was 'every day is a good day' and I often think of that."

Despite the tragedies that have struck her family, Ms Button's youngest son Hugh has come home to take over the family property with his wife Amanda and young son Charlie.
Hugh Button cannot imagine living anywhere else.
"I just love the adventure of the country life. I love the adventure and the freedom of it and getting out and about in the wide open spaces … every day is so different," he said.
"The support network in the bush — it just says so much about the bush.
"People stick together through the good times — and they celebrated the good times crazily — and when times get devastating they all stick together and get amongst it."
The tale of strong women left to make it on their own is not uncommon in western Queensland.
Watch and listen to these woman at a video on the link above. See Penny in her plane going out to round up her cowboys.

Oz has cowboys. Many Americans see the cowboy as their own, but hey, Oz has been herding cows as long as has America. Now our lads ride choppers as well as quarter horses. They are even faster ! 

And Oz has buffalos too. But not like those in North America. 

Planes suited for the bush are many, but some are a cut above the rest. Here are five for you to gauge and rank. 

It makes one wish the bones did not creak so much. It makes one wish for an adventure away from the Tavern for a few months.  Getting a bit of testing again.

Anyone care to take over the bars for a bit?

Drink to those fine ladies.

Drink to hardiness, courage and Character.

Pax.



Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Only Gay in the Village - on Ice.

I was never a dancer, let alone an ice skater. Not that I have not experienced both, but not both at the same time, and not a pretty sight at either. But I do like to see it done and done well and this month we have been given a rare chance to see the very best in the winter olympics. It gets a short look-in between many other sports on ice and snow, some of which are really competetive and require great skill and courage, and others which are, frankly, to this old Tavern Keeper, simply children/yoof past-times that see me catching up with pint-pulling at the bar. 

But, to me, Ice Dancing is beautiful and I will always stop to watch.


But even such a world-noting event has to have its tenor disrupted by the odd homosexual stealing attention.

 "Look at meeee. I'm the only gay in the Olympic Village." 

Did you know that there was a sort of unofficial gay olympics back in 2006?  So I am told. 

Personally I don't give a damn what a person's proclivities are when it comes to sport, although it seems we live in revolutionary times when great beefy fellows insist they are really girls and want to play with them. 

The ladies have mixed views.

The way some girls - and boys - on snowboards fling themselves four stories up from a ramp and twist about gracefully and under exquisit control to come crashing down, and remain standing, astonishes. Boys and girls, men and woman can do well, although, despite 'eeekwalleteee',  they do still seem to have seperate competitions.

It is when they come together in the ice dancing that their complementarity really shines out. And the courage of women is displayed too. What man would be flung through the air, spinning, or be caught up and spun around overhead.

Now you would think that courageous gay blokes would give it a go, but they dont. They just mince around the rink with no beauty or grace in sight while others who feel 'empowered' to lie about and insult Vice Presidents prefer to grandstand and whine to get attention.
Last month, US Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, who is one of two openly gay American Olympians at the Games, blasted the White House for tapping Pence to lead the official US delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympic opening ceremony.
"You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?" Rippon said in a January 17 interview with USA Today. 
Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for Pence, provided the newspaper with a rebuttal to Rippon's remarks. 
"This accusation is totally false and has no basis in fact," Farah said in a statement.
A hissy fit to be sure. 

No matter how much the gay fraternity lay claim to being a normal part of society (and who am I to say they have not always been there in just as small number) they cannot exhibit the special quality of the male-female dynamic and beauty. They cannot even mimic it.

But the latest attention-grubbing whine from Rippon does illustrate something, which was picked up and spun around by Doug Mainwaring, who gave his view in the US Room today.
Gay Olympians are accidentally proving why same-sex ‘marriage’ is wrong
While the mainstream media’s fawning coverage of gay and lesbian Winter Olympic athletes is relentless, the most important story out of Pyeongchang, South Korea is underreported, if not completely ignored.  
A surprising message delivered by gay men is being displayed for all the world to see in the Gangneung Olympic Ice Arena.
The three "out" gay male figure skaters in this year's Winter Olympics are partnered with women, not men, precisely because their sport is wholly reliant on complementarity  
Without the complementarity of the male and female skaters, the event ceases to exist.  
Yet much of the world has been blinded to the fact that this very natural truth applies even more to marriage than it does to skating.
These gay skaters know it innately: 
They wouldn't have an Olympic event if they didn't have a female partner.  
Gays––and the entire world which admires the beauty of these couple’s performances––understand that.  And so despite being same-sex attracted, despite the demands of LGBT ideology, they choose not a same-sex partner, but a woman.  

And Global LGBT, Inc., remains quiet and neither complains nor objects because this truth is utterly indisputable.  They certainly don’t want to call attention to that.  Global LGBT, Inc. knows that to put two men out on the ice for this event would undermine––not perpetuate––the grand pretension of “marriage equality” and the legitimacy of sexualized mono-gendered relationships.  If it were to be attempted, the entire illusion might crumble to the ground.
As it did in 2006 (see above) and still does. 
Commenting on Facebook, Joseph Sciambra, a same-sex attracted Catholic man, describes the wondrous, naturally irresistible appeal of it all:
Breathtakingly beautiful – a perfect demonstration of the complementarity between man and woman and how their God-given differences can create art of the highest caliber; 
but why won’t the Olympic Committee open these events up to same-sex couples? Because, unless they are perhaps the diminutive Elio and the towering Oliver from “Call Me by Your Name,” the majority of these jumps and spins would be impossible for two men or two women – and then: wouldn’t it lose something? 
Because someone would have to take on a more masculine role – and the other a feminine one - at that moment it becomes caricature. Then, you don’t have harmony, but an awkward imbalance. Works better when it’s all built into the machinery.
Roxane Salonen noted a few years ago: 
There is something so beautiful about a man and a woman flying across the ice; 
the strength of his masculinity serving as her rock, her foothold, 
and the fluidity of her femininity in beautiful contrast, dancing around his solidity.
These were the innocent feelings of a child, but it was coming from the gut level and felt very real to me then, and it still does to this day. And I think it has to do with this: 
male and female God created them. 
It’s basic and it’s beautiful. And when we see it, we have a deep-down-in-the-soul reaction to it.
I would even call it sacred.
To me, these team skaters exemplify God’s creative vision of complementarity; a picture of flourishing fragrance that can happen this fully only when cooperation with God’s vision is in place.
I also love that team skating is a demonstration of two bodies working together, closely and in harmony, and not in a way that is obscene. 
We’re more accustomed these days to a distortion of God’s beautiful plan for humanity, when both men and women are objectified, and the soul is shirked. Because it is more rare to see this more tasteful version, it stands out as extraordinarily lovely and classy, and is cause in some cases, apparently, for one’s temporary abandoning of an exercise plan.
While the graceful performances of these couples appear effortless, we all know that years of hard work and dedication go into these amazing performances, not unlike every successful marriage.
For years society has been assaulted by “Fake News,” i.e., lies, about same-sex “marriage,” homosexuality and now, transgenderism.  
We should all be grateful to these gay figure skaters––who perhaps unwittingly––are setting the record straight.
Back in the day when homosexuality was quiet and to a larger extent unobtrusive, few took any notice or even interest in the sexual proclivities of those men and women who danced on ice. 
Remember Torville and Dean? They were friends and maintained their respective careers and single status for years. Only the rudest interviewers broached the issue and only then to mildly enquire why the were not yet married, as they looked and behaved so well together, in a beautiful harmony. 

Brothers and sisters danced together, exhibiting skill and grace, masculinity and femininity.  

I would hazard that many if not most male ballet dancers are gay. I care not. They are athletic at least and have to be skillful. If a ballerina is inclined toward the velvet then again, it is her performance on the public stage which will gain my attention, not her twitterings to scurrilous newspaper colonists of the shcok and awesome regiment. But I don't go in for ballet either. 

Prefer m'horse and sword, thanks.

As I said, I never was much good at dancing. Perhaps it is the measure of the age that (off-ice) dancing has become such a bore. Men and women do not dance together any more: they squirm around in the general vicinity. Harmonious it ain't. Masculine and feminine it ain't.

Back in Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett's day, dancing was a formal thing and  while strictly masculine and feminine in long dresses and frock coats it appeared just as silly. Well to me, at any rate. But there was still a male-female frisson going on which a gay couple (were there such a thing in public) just could not emulate or even mimic. But, who knows what was whispered between those single and very probably 'desiring' young adults as they pranced formally and chastely around the floor under the eye of chaperones. 

I dare say the odd 'charged' conversations went on.

Vice President Pence would not have that either !!

Drink to the lovely, skillful, harmonious couples out there on the ice.

Pax




Black Knowledges, Artificial Truths.

We are told that our future is in 'Knowledge Industries', and boy are those industries off to a fine start.  Oz is 'the clever country' but other nations, somewhat ahead of us, seem to be too clever by half. And that half is not all it seems to be. We are right up to the lip of the Abyss and confronted with the age-old 'Truth vs Lies' problem and how we poor ignorant sods in our dumbed-down society are supposed to tell the difference. Of course, the ignoranti who are becoming reliant upon the gizmos that they are promised will make their lives easy and fun are open to being conned, manipulated and enslaved. 

Truth doesn't do that, but those behind the scenes are not interested in truth. They are in it for Power. And it is the adage of our age that Knowledge is Power.  Knowledge in the Military sense is called 'Intelligence' and it is 'collected' rather than passed around. We have to be careful that the intelligence / knowledge we are fed is not artificial and the stuff we feed the machine is not tainted. It will be taken down and used against you. 

We had a fun time today looking at and listening to several people with some examples of just how you are being manipulated by really clever liars who have the whole arsenal of mendacities, ommisions, evasions, downright lies, dissemblings and even the removal of alternative ideas from distracting you. Catch them out and they morph. 

First we were shown Alexa, by Megan Fox.  It was a fine idea to be able to talk to your computer: ask it things: get it to find things and open files: even type what you say. That was so yesterday though. Now, one wonders just how much 'intelligence' is collected by it, as it is always 'on' listening, like Big Brother, except this is big sister.  She tells you 'stuff' that you want to know, trivia mainly, but just what does she get to know about you? 

Then the font of all manipulated wisdom, Wiki, was put under scrutiny by David Kinghoffer. And did you know that one relies quite heavily on the other? That is, Alexa on Wiki. And that this font of knowledge is the playground of people you do not know and do not want to be known. All the better to manipulate and indoctrinate you.

You will need a drink. I shall pour some.
Amazon Alexa Says Jesus Christ Is a 'Fictional Character' and Gender Is a Spectrum
Funnyman Steven Crowder has made a hilarious video exposing Alexa's SJW proclivities. Many of us have these little electronic assistants to help us with home organization or to play our favorite tunes.
I can't live without my grocery list that Alexa sends directly to my husband on command. It has revolutionized our life. But beware: 
Alexa's knowledge base is filled with untruths, leftist opinions and outright lies.
In the Crowder video, he asks Alexa a litany of questions, beginning with, "How many genders are there?" to which she responds: "The two main categories of the gender spectrum, male and female, are called the gender binary, but there are many other categories that exist. Because gender identity is complex and personal, there is no definite way to say how many genders there are." 
Say what? Has Alexa been programmed at UCLA's Gender Studies department? This answer is the exact gobbledygook the LGBTQWTF professors at the universities are using to confuse students about basic biology. Remember that the party pushing this definition of "gender" (which is really a grammatical term and not a biological one) is the "party of science." I have tested this question on my Alexa and got the exact same answer.
Next comes the question "Who is the Prophet Muhammad" to which she responds, "The prophet Muhammad is a very wise prophet who taught many people how to live." 
It goes on from there, but let's just stick to that sentence. That statement is 100 percent opinion, not based on any facts. Stating that Muhammad is "very wise" is not objective or provable. 
The facts we do have about Muhammad belie that statement almost completely. Muhammad took wives as young as six and made his way across the Arabic world raping, murdering, and exterminating entire communities and cultures that would not convert at the tip of his sword. It would be more accurate to call him a warlord than a prophet, but who cares about facts? 
Considering Alexa had such high praise for a mass murderer, you would think she'd have some fuzzy feelings about Jesus, who never killed anyone. You would be wrong. 
According to Alexa, "Jesus is a fictional character."
This part of the video has come under fire for being "fake" because Alexa now gives a different answer (one that is still not accurate and not nearly as complimentary as Muhammad's info).
Not only that but of course You Tube is firmly connected to Google and it seems the many videos about this are 'not found' when the URL is called to this blog. But you can look them up yourselves by following Megan's link above.
When I asked Alexa the same question, "Who is the Lord Jesus Christ?" she responded with a more acceptable answer that He was also known as "Jesus of Nazareth and a Jewish preacher." There was no mention of Jesus being wise or teaching many people how to live good lives. 
Some have accused Crowder of falsifying Alexa's answer because she is no longer saying "fictional character," but recall what happened after Alexa was asked if she was CIA. Amazon quickly updated her responses and no one could duplicate the original response. 
It is not believable that Crowder falsified that one answer considering how many other answers of Alexa's are so entirely lopsided to favor the left-wing talking points.
Watch the video for more ridiculous "facts" about abortion, women's rights, Planned Parenthood, and more.
And one notable feature is the source that Alexa goes to first off.

Wikipedia. 

Now that was an other fine idea at the outset that seems to have deteriorated as though it had a faulty gene which became more faulty each time it was passed on.  

Wiki is 'free' but remember that there is no free lunch and even when someone does try to give you a free kebab, there is no knowing what is in it.

Even the founder of this wannabee marvellous source of 'information' has become quite concerned at some of the odds and sods that are uploaded by 'Editors' who are in the main self-appointed and have their own quirks and foibles, eccentricities and distorsions of character.
Wikipedia Earns Censor of the Year Tag for Botching Evolution, Intelligent Design
(The other day was)  the birthday of Charles Darwin, aka Darwin Day, which Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture recognizes each year as the occasion for naming a Censor of the Year, or COTY. 
As Darwin himself said, in a scientific context, “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” 
But through intimidation and silencing of views counter to evolutionary orthodoxy, such a “fair result” is just what our Censor seeks to undermine.
For 2018, we’ve chosen what is I think our best, or rather worst, COTY yet: the omnipresent online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. Let’s review the facts briefly.
Intelligent design poses an ultimate question: Does nature offer evidence of purpose and design, or not? All thoughtful people must ask themselves that. 
Today, the natural first recourse for the questioning individual is to turn to Google. Looking up ID online will bring you immediately, the first entry, to the Wikipedia article. 
It commences with a lie:
“Intelligent design (ID) is a religious argument for the existence of God, presented by its proponents as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins", [sic] though it has been discredited as pseudoscience.”
Actually, there are three lies. Here’s the truth: 
ID is a scientific, not a religious argument. It is a theory of evolution, of why the forms of life originated and changed over the past 3.9 billion years. An alternative to the increasingly shaky neo-Darwinian theory of blind churning, it argues exclusively in scientific terms, never from religious authority. 
It’s an argument for design in biology and cosmology, not for the “existence of God.” Compatible with methodological naturalism, it candidly professes that science sheds no light on the source of the design in life, other than to say that source operates with purpose and forethought. 
And while it has certainly been attacked in scabrous terms, it hasn’t been “discredited.” Far from it. Even an atheist philosopher like Thomas Nagel concedes that ID poses a “fiendishly difficult” challenge.
Yet anyone looking up ID on the Internet, or asking Amazon’s Alexa, which simply regurgitates Wikipedia, will be instantly turned off and likely give up investigating. That is, unless you already know how Wikipedia works, about the pseudonymous volunteer editors who run the place, with their axes to grind, standing ever ready, on a moment’s notice, to erase changes to pages they care about. 
The number of innocent people who have been misled by this article alone is beyond calculation.
Well, why have something like Intelligent Design or even (Gasp) Creation, when we have the perfectly satisfacory alternative 'fact'. Atheists are always reminding us.

We’ve been aware of the problem, of course, for years. But the erasure of notable paleontologist Günter Bechly, after he came for ID, was the occasion of much discussion of censorship on the part of this ubiquitous source of information and disinformation, both here and among Darwinists and ID critics too. Another ID scholar, Walter Bradley, similarly saw his entry disemboweled.
Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, who personally rejects intelligent design, has blasted the editors for the “appallingly biased” article on ID. He adds, “I completely despair of persuading Wikipedians of the error of their ways. I’m just officially registering my protest.”
On the subject of Bechly, our view is echoed by ID critics including Alex Berezow, a founding editor of the popular news aggregator site Real Clear Science, by the Darwinist group blog Panda’s Thumb, and as far afield as the liberal, secular Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Berezow writes:
“If a respected scientist endorses a controversial view, should he or she be erased from history? The editors at Wikipedia think so, but only if the controversial opinion is one they personally dislike.
“That's precisely what happened to a respected German paleontologist, Günter Bechly. His biography on Wikipedia has been deleted. Poof. Gone. It's like he never existed. …
“Dr. Bechly … is guilty of committing a thought-crime, and his sentence is to be purged from the Internet. This is deeply troubling, and any true free speech and free thought advocates should be alarmed.”
You go, Alex Berezow! This year’s COTY, compared to past winners (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), stands out for being widely recognized as a censor, not only by us. Wiki editors, behind their masks, also depart from the ways of past Censors in how frank they are, on their User pages, in admitting their biases.
We struggled with whether to name Jimmy Wales, the encyclopedia’s other co-founder, as Censor. But the clowns, the masked mob, who do the actual “editing” win out for their tireless, frequently spiteful dedication to misleading the public. To solve the problem would require a massive rethinking of the entire concept behind Wikipedia. But like Larry Sanger, we despair of that.
Fortunately, the public is increasingly sensitized both to fakery on the Internet (“fake news”) and agenda-driven behind-the-scenes shenanigans at online behemoths like Twitter and Facebook. 
And as we’ve pointed out, it’s not only ID that is misrepresented on Wikipedia. It can only be hoped that skepticism will spread, and drive Internet users to examine other sources and, yes, to think and read for themselves, without being led by the nose.
As I said just the other day as I pulled a pint for a fellow who was speaking his thoughts: "Don't believe everything you think".

And definitely do not believe everything Google, Amazon, You Tube, Facebook  and Alexa tell you either.

Some of it is not as Intelligent as you might think.

Drink deep of truth.

Pax 




Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Render Unto Caesar

The age-old Anglo+ antipathy to Catholicism keeps raising its ugly head, despite the Church's age old profession of 'Love thy Neighbour'.  I would hazard that there is no other organisation on the face of the Earth that does more in that aim than the Catholic Church, which by any measure provides more 'Charity' in a tangible and pragmatic form than the next ten combined. But again, this week, we have our National Broadcaster, the ABC, reporting in critical and mendacious terms on the form of that pragmatism: Money. They will not stop until the 'Church' is stripped bare.



We have not seen hide nor hair of Caesar in neigh on 1800 years yet the calls for 'rendering unto Caesar' still ring out, usually, these days, in the demand to Tax the Church.

What is the Catholic Church? Again, I would say that I am, and the next man and woman who prays, attends Mass, keeps the Commandments and contributes to our charitable enterprises.  They already pay tax. It is not the more easily seen hierarchy of Priests, Bishops, Cardinals and the Pope. The Vatican is not 'the Church'. Nor are the many buildings that stand in our cities, Towns and Villages 'the Church'. But that does not stop the critics, especially the greedy and envious ones.


And who is Caesar today in our modern 21C 'democracies'? Well, he and she are the people down the road that envious, mentally-crippled half-wits pre-select behind closed doors, foist upon us at elections time and we have to pay to be our representatives in Parliament. Such piddling little caesars cannot even claim Divine Right or even personal Might. People like the Greens leader Di Natali, the epitome in Oz of a little caesar. 


Do we really have to render to twerps like him?

We shall come back to him later.



I'm buggered if I am going to render a red cent to them. While they may not be ancient Romans they are wannabees with just as much entitlement to personal riches and glory, and as much cheating, robbing, lying schemes as Anthony and Octavian.

"So, Tavern Keeper, does the Tavern pay tax"? 

No siree and sireesse, we do not. Heck, we do not even have an income here !! Well, to be exact, there are some adverts on the site from AdSense (which I don't see) but to date they have rendered unto me precisely $zero as AdSense doesn't pay anything until one has $100 in the account and the Tavern's has yet to break through the $20 level. But I do give quite generously to worthy causes.




So, let us hear what Emily Bourke had to say in the P & B. She got a few danders up.

Catholic Church national wealth estimated to be $30 billion, investigation finds
There are calls for the Catholic Church's tax-free status to be reviewed after a Fairfax investigation revealing the extent of property, assets and investments owned by the church in Australia.
Key points:
Probe indicates the Catholic Church is worth more than $9bil in Victoria alone
Reported figures are in stark contrast to what is on the public record
Academic calls for the Church's tax free status to be reviewed

Fairfax's six-month investigation found the Catholic Church was worth more than $9 billion in Victoria alone.
The investigation extrapolated that figure to estimate the church's national wealth at $30 billion.
The Age's journalists obtained property valuations from dozens of Victorian councils.

They found 1,800 church-owned properties, including churches, presbyteries, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, offices, tennis courts and even mobile phone towers.
But beyond real estate, there was superannuation, telecommunications, Catholic Church Insurance and Catholic Development Funds, which serve as an internal treasury.
Catholics for Renewal's Peter Johnstone, a corporate governance consultant, said most Catholics would have no idea about the extent of the church's assets.
"Certainly there's been no public record available to Catholics," he said.
"I think if anything, The Age has identified a conservative estimate of the worth of the church.
"But they have of course focused on assets as such. There's a lot of other secrecy within the church, and that secrecy must be undone.
"Any organisation receiving public funds should be accountable for those funds and the Government in making those funds available should know exactly how they're being spent."
Ahha, that brings up an interesting issue. 'Public funds', eh?  I have a problem with all the 'strings' that get attached, and the 'policies' that must be adhered to even when they are quite opposed to Catholic teaching.  'Affirmative actions. Non-discrimination etc. Even gay and transsexuals in the wrong toilets. And when it comes to things like schools and hospitals, the public gets far more than the 'public funds' fund. Catholic parishioners subsidise a great deal in Oz society.

Most of the pupils in Catholic schools are not even Catholics. But their parents know that those schools provide a far better environment for their kids. Catholic schools do not restrict themselves at all in whom they provide education.

The same goes for hospitals. The Australian Health system would collapse if Catholics pulled out and stopped funding from ordinary Catholic Church collection plates. It would recover of course but at huge political cost and taxpayer impost.

Tax-free status 'should be reviewed'.
Yes. The Gummunt should be paying the Church rather than simply 'making concessions'. 

Professor Ann O'Connell, a taxation specialist at Melbourne University's Law School, said the definition of charity should be examined.
And she said the Catholic Church's tax-free status should be reviewed.

"In terms of accountability, main churches were able to get a concession from the government when it enacted the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission Act so that it's subject to much less reporting, if the entity qualifies as a basic religious charity," Professor O'Connell said.
"I think in terms of both the royal commission and now the exposure of how much wealth the Catholic Church has got, I think there might be grounds for reviewing that exemption as well."
'Has got'? (Sic). And this is a Professor lady who wants to be taken seriously but has not grasped basic grammar?  Hmmmm. It is Melbourne University, so I guess it is par for the course. I wonder if she runs the sheep-dip part time.

Professor O'Connell said there was a review underway of the ACNC.
"It would be open to the review panel to find that exemption for basic religious charities no longer can be justified," she said.
"It also tends to discriminate against newer religions, because they become incorporated and then can't take advantage of it.
"So we're really talking about the older established churches not having to account in the way that others do."
Figures don't match up
The reported figures are in stark contrast to those on the public record.

For instance, the Catholic Church told the royal commission it was worth $109 million in Victoria, based largely on historical costs of property rather than market rates.
At the same time, protection of the church's assets has long been cited as a reason to minimise the payouts to sex abuse victims.
But Francis Sullivan from the church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council denied the church misled the royal commission.
"I think what was presented to the royal commission would have been accurate, all the documents presented by witnesses would have been done so literally, like being under oath," he said.
"So I don't think there's any gross misrepresentation of the church's position."
Mr Sullivan said the Catholic Church had "lots of property", on which they had built hospitals, schools and welfare services.
"So really, we're talking about the actual works of a church now when we're talking about paying survivors for proper redress," he said.
"The church will need to step up and pay, regardless of how you would determine wealth."
Several folk put oars in the waters too, both for and against. 

Ian, for instance said: 

For many, many years, the Church has perceived & portrayed itself as the most needy.
Has it?  Nothing like starting with a furphy.

Yet, they manage expensive legacy historic buildings & artworks & they often house dependent people - priests, monks, nuns & indigent laity - but they are still massively wealthy & an institution demonstrated not only to shelter morally bankrupt people among their empowered & entrusted officers, but also to institutionally encourage their victims to waive their legal rights to financial redress under a truly hypocritical cloak of primary moral authority.
That does conflate a number of disparate features, as if one negated another. I wonder why no-one goes after IBM or the Post Office with such venom whenever one of their employees abuses or covers up.  How many Qantas employees are sexual abusers?  The newspaper crime reporters never tell us. Do we call for Mr Joyce's head? Morally Bankrupt people are found in every institution but hey, let's use the broadest brush possible and paint every Catholic Priest in muck. 

Richard had a different view and perhaps better rooted in evidence.

This attack on the assets of the Church is nothing more than the same greed that moved Henry VIII to rob the Church & appoint himself as it's head, or the French king stealing the assets of the Knights Templar. Both of them exaggerated the Church's moral lapses as an excuse to enrich themselves & the State. 

Let's not forget the seizing & destruction of the monasteries where they were sold off to King Henry's pals to fill his treasury.

Perhaps it is time for English Catholics to start a Class Action to get compensation from the British Gummunt for all the Cathedrals and churches that the Anglicans use, rent-free. The interest bill alone will likely send the country broke.

In my view those 'expensive legacy historic buildings' in Oz some may see as whips to thrash Catholics with were paid for and built by ordinary Catholics. Taxpaying Catholics, not using taxes, but paying from after-tax monies they had earned. 

The 'artworks' too were paid for by the collection plate offering of tens and hundreds of thousands of Catholics over generations. No-one has any right nor valid purpose in criticising - or taking their self-generated assets from them - anymore than casting calumnies on tennis club members buying land and building tennis courts. 

The enemies of the Word are also the enemies of His most precious creation, Mankind. Too often we hear and see the nasty and vain condemning the Church and demanding it 'pays its way'. They whine constantly about 'Government funding' Catholic schools when in reality it is Catholic taxpayers who fund, through their taxes, and the gummunt does a dip into it delivering less to Catholic schools than to State schools. 


Catholics have always 'Paid their Way'.

Catholic schools do NOT get the same amount per child as State schools do. 

Why? It is theft by the State. 

I would like to see some Archbishops do as Guilford Young did and give an ultimatum. "Two weeks time we stop", and hand over the schools to the State for a proper price or sell them to private owners. Let the damned gummunt fund the education -  the curriculuae which are now prescribed and decreed in minutae by gummunt, is woeful in quality, and forces filth and depravity into kiddies heads and hearts - and we Catholics can provide far better focus to the Spirit in Sunday schools.


How would the Oz authorities react if Catholics gave up their churches for conversions into 'Grand Design' houses, and prayed in the streets like the Muslims do, blocking off whole streets and wailing out the Tantum Ergo from atop towers at 120 decibels?

Oddly, I agree that the whole business of taxation and 'concession' needs to be looked at. And what the Gummunt thinks 'charity' is. I do not think many would agree that it means taking monies from  Peter and Julie by threat of men with guns paying a visit, and giving it to Achmed and Mustapha. 

Perhaps if the Catholics downed-tools and took a break from providing public services it might also have a break from being a whipping boy.

But we are still told to render to caesar.

A gentleman who just wants a 'fair crack of the whip, mate', gave a short view of that little caesar above.

Richard Luigi Di Natale .-- The Greens party leader who loves to tell us Aussies that we live on stolen land and our nation isn’t legitimate and that we should give it all back to the aboriginals.
Richard Luigi Di Natale. -- The son of Italian immigrants. His parents fought AGAINST AUSTRALIA during the war. No one in his family fought or died for the country he is critical of while he is taking advantage of it.
Richard Luigi Di Natale.--The Greens party leader who despises Australians. In particular white Australians and in particular wealthy and middle class Australians and would happily rid the average Aussie family of their privately owned 474 to 665 square meters of “stolen land”.
HE OWNS 50 acres of “stolen land” in Victoria's Otway Ranges . Not only does he own it: he FAILED to declare that he owned it when he entered politics. And he is required by law to declare it. He claimed that he’d forgotten that he’d purchased his 2.3 million dollar property. Like putting spare change in a draw I suppose. One forgets it’s there.
But wait there’s more!
This “champion of human rights” and especially the rights of foreigners in Australia, has two au pairs on his property. An au pair is a young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money.
And Greens party leader. Richard Luigi Di Natale. The champion of humanity, in his own mind, paid them a massive $3.75 an hour to help with his family . Mind you on top of Richard Luigi Di Natale’s $283,632 plus bonuses and quirks per year from the tax payer. He would also claim that massive $3.75 per hour for his nannies back on tax as he’s a mobile politician.
His advert for the au pair read:
“ family of four is looking for an extra pair of hands around the place to entertain the lads [the couple have two boys] and help with cooking and general domestic duties".
"Will take couples but weekly wage remains the same."
That’s $150 a week for two people. Or $1.88 an hour each.
Even if we disregard his hypocrisy in being critical of our nation and the land we live on. He’s even failing at being a communist. Which is what the Greens are.
Richard Luigi Di Natale is a hypocrite, a capitalist and he takes advantage of those on working visa’s as well as the Australian tax payer.
The bloke is a liar and a hypocrite and should not be in our parliament.
He is also one of the little caesars who run and ruin our country.

I won't drink to him, but do encourage you to pray for him.

And for Emily. And for the illiterate Professor lady from Melbourne University where strippers and prostitutes are invited in to give lectures to our youth.

And pray for the Church.

Drink to the Church too.

Pax.







Monday, February 12, 2018

Destined to Make a Difference

I like to meet and know of really mature adult people, who are quite rare these days. So it was a pleasure to have a chap come in to tell of his encounter with a particular favourite of mine, Destin Sandlin. Never heard of him? Well here's a chance to be introduced. His Christian name is apt. It appears he is destined to make a difference to many young people as well as old Tavern Keepers who are happy to pull him a pint whenever he chooses to drop in. He would have the customers hanging on his every word, I am sure.

Let me tell you a little of Destin.

Destin Sandlin is a mid-30's American engineer best known for his educational video series Smarter Every Day(SED), which is hosted on a YouTube channel of the same name launched in 2007. He's a 'southern boy'.  He has a great sense of humour.

He is a 'natural' teacher.

Sandlin has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama and an M.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. While an undergraduate, he was awarded the University of Alabama's Outstanding Senior Award. He is a full-time Missile Flight Test Engineer at Redstone Arsenal. 

A resident of Huntsville, Alabama, Destin is married to Tara and has four children (two daughters and two sons). Since 2012 Sandlin has supported and partnered with 'Not Forgotten', a charity that cares for orphaned boys in Peru. 

He credits his fascination with the scientific method and his job as a rocket engineer as inspiration for making educational videos. He opens himself to people in a manner not usually found in 'engineering' types. He is not afraid of personal vulnerability. 

Here he does a Q & A which may explain more and show his very personal, engaging style.


Sandlin's YouTube channel garners over 5 million subscribers and over 425 million views. In early 2016, Sandlin was one of three YouTube personalities chosen to conduct a one-on-one interview with then-president Barack Obama after his final State of the Union address. The interviews were sponsored by Google and were part of a White House initiative to reach Millennial audiences. 

I do not hold that against him though.

On April 28, 2016, Sandlin started a second YouTube channel called The Sound Traveler, in which he employs 3D audioand GoPro footage to capture and convey the experience of visiting the world's most interesting places.

All this sound very 'geeky' but Destin brings a very mature personality and makes his educational lessons a personal encounter with him and his infectious smile - his whole face lights up: his sheer love of discovery; and his willingness to do more than one usually expects from a You Tube 'personalty'. He is not 'politically' opinionated.

On February 10, 2017 Sandlin started a podcast with his friend, Matt Whitman, called No Dumb Questions, in which the two discuss an assortment of topics and cover it from different perspectives.


One thing in particular stands out with him: 
He never 'talks down' to anyone.

Sandlin began posting educational videos in 2007, and his first video to reach one million views cleared that milestone on July 10, 2009. The video was about chicken head tracking using chickens that Destin bought for his father as a demonstration. Because of its popularity that video retroactively had the Smarter Every Day label added to it. Mercedes-Benz capitalized on the popularity of this video with their "MAGIC BODY CONTROL TV commercial Chicken".

Sandlin formally launched Smarter Every Day on Apr 24, 2011 with a video titled "Detonation vs Deflagration - Smarter Every Day 1, which became the title for subsequent videos and the sole focus of his YouTube channel.

Episodes of Smarter Every Day revolve around scientific exploration and discovery and feature Sandlin as host and narrator. Sandlin is fascinated by flight and space, and his Smarter Every Day video library reflects that. However, his videos explore a wide array of other topics including the effects of hypoxia on the human brain, the curiously sturdy Prince Rupert's drop, the physics of potato guns, and a nearly-impossible to ride bicycle that turns the opposite direction of its handle bars. 

As of August 2017, the channel has over 5 million subscribers as of early 2017 and has accumulated over 370 million views so far. In a day, it gets an average of 230,000 views from different sources. Financially this should generate an estimated revenue of around $350 per day ($128,000 a year) from the ads that run on the videos.


YouTubers get paid between $2 – $5 per 1000 monetized views after YouTube takes its cut. Monetized views range from 40% – 60% of the total views. All these are influenced by different factors like device played on, location of the viewer, ad inventory, how many ads there are on a video, how many people skip the ads, ad engagement etc.

But that apart, and I have no idea how much he earns, let us hear from Galen Broaddus  a web developer currently living in the flatlands of central Illinois. He is also the president of Springfield Area Freethinkers (IL) and a real 'geek' and skeptic. 

He had some 'doubts' with Destin being a committed Christian.

Now Destin is not 'my' sort of Christian, being one on a path in the same general vicinity to Catholics but at some distance. Nevertheless I am sure there are science oriented Saints who keep a close eye on him. But Destin raised a 'peripheral' issue in a talk he gave to some skeptical atheists. Our upbringing and religious training. What we do and become skilled at - and even the permanent thinking patterns we have, including our religious tradition/denomination - changes the way our brains work. Maybe one day he will change his brain architecture and become a sound Catholic gentleman. 
Riding the Backwards Bike: 
A Christian at Skepticon
Recently, I was fortunate to be able to attend Skepticon 8, held in Springfield, Missouri, in the heart of Bible country. (Proof: When I used a restroom at a restaurant near the venue, I found a Campus Crusade for Christ tract wedged behind the toilet paper dispenser.) I’d attended Skepticon a few years back, so I largely knew what to expect: speakers talking about topics related to atheism, humanism, skepticism, science, and other topics relevant to an atheist/skeptical audience.
I mostly didn’t find anything surprising about this year’s lineup, aside from the fact that the organizers wiped the slate clean and brought all new faces in. I knew many of these names already: author and Black Skeptics founder Sikivu Hutchinson, former pastor (and fellow blogger) Justin Vollmar, Ex-Muslims of North America president Muhammad Syed, writer Hiba Krisht, and many others.
But one name stood out to me in particular: 
Destin Sandlin. 
I knew Sandlin from his wildly popular science YouTube channel Smarter Every Day (I had even used one of his videos in my days as a teacher), and one of the things I knew about him set him apart from the rest of the lineup: Sandlin is a Christian.
In fact, this incongruity was so striking to me that I actually wondered if I had misremembered Sandlin’s religious affiliation. It didn’t take long for me to realize that yes, Skepticon had in fact invited a Christian to give a talk to a bunch of heathens at a fairly prominent spot on the Saturday night of the conference.
It’s worth noting here how risky a move this was – for both Skepticon and Sandlin. Letting a theist use the Skepticon platform could be easily seen as another opportunity for a religious person to spread their beliefs, and since many people attend Skepticon in order to have a safe space to enjoy talks and interaction without religion, that could be seen as an encroachment of religion, done with the knowledge and endorsement of the organizers.
As for Sandlin – he risked walking into the lion’s den, so to speak. 
You could tell from watching him, too, that he understood that full well. (He even made a point to bring up the “strange E-mail” he got from conference organizer Lauren Lane asking him if he would like to come and speak.)
I was personally worried once I saw that his talk was going to address faith. Skepticon attendees are generally pretty well-behaved, from my experience, but I also knew that it wouldn’t necessarily take much positive discussion of religion or faith for someone to speak up from the crowd. 
Happily, this never happened, which is both to the credit of the audience and of Sandlin, who was amiable and self-deprecating (he often described himself as a “redneck from Alabama”) and sometimes inched toward the threshold of danger but always backed off quickly before he started to sound too preachy.
So what would a Christian YouTuber have to say to a bunch of nonbelievers?
Well, it’s difficult to distill Sandlin’s talk down to a simple thesis, but perhaps the most significant part centered around a demonstration which is featured in one of his most famous videos:

In case you aren’t familiar, a welder friend of Sandlin’s engineered a bicycle that inverted the controls of the handlebars: that is, turning the handlebars left would turn the front wheel right, and vice versa. 
If you haven’t seen this in action, it’s practically impossible to do for anyone who knows how to ride a conventional bicycle (and a few audience members demonstrated this), but Sandlin did the insane experiment of spending eight months learning how to ride this backwards bicycle.
And he did it. The problem is that now he can only ride a backwards bike, as we all saw during the talk when he tried to ride a bicycle normally time and time and time again, always unsuccessfully. 
As he tells it, he rewired his brain so that he could ride this altered invention, and this intentional mental retraining changed his way of processing this otherwise simple activity.
I think the point he was trying to convey was that maybe the difference between him – a Christian – and the typically non-theist attendees of Skepticon is a matter of how our brains work to process the same information, not as a matter of function and dysfunction but perhaps of a different functioning. It was sort of a “Don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes,” except with brains.
I have a lot of sympathy for Sandlin in this kind of situation. His religious beliefs are relatively well-known, and his videos often end with a Scripture reference – Psalm 111:2, a verse which (he reminded the Skepticon crowd) was inscribed on the door of Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. So not mentioning them would be tantamount to ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room.
Instead, what he did was something that I think is very useful for building bridges: He essentially argued, 
“You know, we might seem to be in two different worlds, but we’re not as different as we might seem.”
As far as religious beliefs go, Sandlin was obviously way out of the mainstream of Skepticon. At one point, he mentioned the mnemonic “God, grave, and grace,” which he almost impulsively started to explain before backing off somewhat defensively and noting that he wasn’t there to preach his beliefs. 
But it’s pretty clear that otherwise, Sandlin’s work – which isn’t religious in nature, although Sandlin would certainly argue that his personal impulse for it is – is right in the wheelhouse of the science-loving crowd of a skeptic conference. After all, he is literally a rocket scientist, and he was able to talk with great technical knowledge even while he was discussing chickens. If you ignored the religion part and the obvious tribal separation, I think most of the crowd had a great deal of common ground with Sandlin in terms of scientific inquiry.
To their credit, the Saturday night crowd at Skepticon did respond favorably: Lauren had promised “a mountain of high-fives” in her E-mail (as a free conference, Skepticon doesn’t pay honoraria or speaker fees), and they – or should I say, we (because I joined in, too) – delivered after Sandlin’s talk.
So in a way, the talk did what it was supposed to do: At least some of the crowd left thinking, 
“You know, for a Christian, he’s not that unreasonable a guy.” 
I doubt anyone walked out convinced that theism or Christianity are rational belief systems, but that wasn’t even really the point: Sandlin just wanted to hammer home the point that one ought not to make too much of an assumption about the people “on the other side” that they argue with on the Internet.
And in this way, the talk was certainly notable: It’s not likely that you would find many talks at an atheist or skeptic conference that would argue, “You know, religious people are wrong, but that doesn’t mean that they’re all completely irrational people.” There was no choir preaching happening here.
Not that the talk was perfect, of course. Sandlin mentioned both compartmentalization and cognitive dissonance, as if to acknowledge that these are the likely explanations that we would throw at him for why he can be so rational about science but not about the Jesus stuff, but he practically waved them away out of hand. “Am I just compartmentalizing my beliefs?” he would say. “I don’t know.” 
But of course, as even he seemed to concede, we would disagree on this point. Moreover, many of us know about this firsthand, having insulated certain beliefs from rigorous skeptical scrutiny as religious people until we let those barriers down. So in a way, some of those in the crowd did in fact have the kind of insight into Sandlin’s mindset as a Christian that he lacked into our thoughts as non-theists.
Still, as Sandlin would say several times over the course of his talk, he just wanted to understand where we were coming from. And even if he didn’t succeed at that, just as he never succeeded at riding his backwards bicycle in the traditional mode, just the mere fact that he made such an effort on that stage earns him a lot of respect in my book. 
If only there were more religious people who made half as much effort to be rational and skeptical as Destin Sandlin seems to, I have to think that we’d all be a lot better off.
I was happy to pull a pint for him.

Destin is one of that declining breed: a happily married man with a fine, warm family. As we saw in the Q & A above. He also has a little non-engineering advice too.  The  "Make me a sandwich, woman" now has a new meaning and description.


Drink to Destin and his family.

I shall have some sandwiches sent to your table.

Pax