How I stay upbeat and optimistic in the era of #fakenews, fake outrage, pathological lying, deceit & other fakery

We are lied to daily by politicians and #fakenews reporters. We are told that we are causing the climate to change, that we are undertaxed, that the Republicans are out to bankrupt us or outright kill us and starve our children. Trump is trying to poison us and make our pharmaceuticals unaffordable. Women are oppressed, except those living in the Middle East. They’ve got it great. Everything is hysteria. We are expected to worry about everything. We are supposed to consume this product and believe that lie and prepare for cataclysms that do not exist. This is the world in which we live.

Jesus is my Savior.

My ultimate hope is in the risen Messiah. Where else am I going to go?

We are told to dwell in the world but not be of the world. And so I live in the world but shut much of it out.

As for the rest, well, how do I stay upbeat and optimistic? Let me tell you.

If you watch #fakenews or follow any of the #fakenews outlets on social media, you’ll soon find yourself a basket case. I don’t follow #fakenews of any sort in any way. I follow only a few people on Twitter, either people I know or other reliable conservatives. I am not on Facebook, for about a thousand reasons. Maybe two thousand. I listen to Rush Limbaugh every day without fail. Every. Single. Day. I get my news regarding the Trump administration directly from President Trump on Twitter. Yes, I trust him not to lie to me every bit as much as I trust the #fakenews media and Democrats to lie to me.

I do not trust in gimmicks or financial gurus or healers. I do not believe that guns kill people or that Islam is the religion of peace or that white males are inherently evil. I am not a racist or a homophobe or an Islamophobe or a xenophobe. Or a misogynist. I do, however, have an almost paralyzing fear of snakes. I am also afraid of heights. These are my only real phobias.

There are only two genders: male and female.

I have certain biases. The only thing different between me and those who say they have no biases is that I admit I have biases. I am intolerant of some things because some things are just plain stupid. The only thing different between me and those who claim tolerance is that I admit I am intolerant of some things.

I can “coexist” only with those who leave me alone.

I am an introvert. If I am plugged in, do not bother me. If I am not plugged in, do not bother me.

Much, if not most of the accusations that fly back-and-forth are examples of projection. If someone accuses me of racism, I just assume that the other person is racist. If someone calls me an idiot, I assume my accuser is an idiot. Accusations tend to reveal much more about the accuser than the accused.

I am not a social justice warrior. I am not a white knight. I love and cherish my wife and simultaneously believe liberal feminism is cancer on women and families. And beta males, but that’s their fault.

My family brings me joy. We look after each other.

I enjoy sports, but only as long as it isn’t politicized. As soon as politics in injected into sports, I turn it off. #boycottNFL

I believe in what I see and hear. I trust myself. I rarely believe what I am told without verifying. When #fakenews manages to squirt through my otherwise impermeable wall, I immediately assume it is a lie…because it most likely is.

I have hobbies that occupy my time when I am not at work or doing things around the house that need to be done. I am an avid runner. I love to run. I am an avid reader, but am very choosy about what I read. I write things occasionally. I listen to copious amounts of music. I also like to cook. I enjoy being outside. Summers spent in the hammock are the best. I occasionally watch a movie. I rarely watch TV.

I am smarter than most of the people who hold public office. I am smarter than the #fakenews reporters who lie to us. If you cannot say this about yourself, then educate yourself until it becomes true. As soon as you become immune to lying politicians and #fakenews reporters, they cease being a threat to you and you then become a threat to them. They’ll hate you for it.

Be the go-to person in your inner circle. Be the one other people turn to for clarification. Explain yourself with confidence and assuredness. Learn to articulate as succinctly as possible.

If I could reduce all this to a simple formula, it would be this: trust Jesus, do what brings you joy, be your own person, stay healthy, educate yourself, shut out those things (and people) who cause you discouragement.

iPhone 7 photos

About 4 months ago, I upgraded from an iPhone 5C to an iPhone 7. The 5C is an excellent phone. I used it for for nearly 2 1/2 years. The camera was superb. My iPhone is the the only camera I use anymore. I have an older digital camer, but it just sits in a drawer. The iPhone cameras have improved to the point that I’m not willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a DLSR camera when the iPhone does such a good job.

At any rate, I have snapped a few photographs here and there with the iPhone 7, but had never taken it out for an actual photo shoot until today, when my wife and I made our first visit of 2017 to the Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Nashville. We buy an annual membership to the botanical garden. My wife goes because gardening is her hobby. I go because photography is one of mine.

This is the time of year when tulips are in bloom, but we almost missed them because spring came so early this year. Normally they are in bloom well into April, but here we are in late March, and, although there are still plenty of tulips in bloom, they appear to already be waning. So I’m including a few of today’s photographs as an example of the newest sort of “iPhoneography.”

Henry David Thoreau’s encounter with an early feminist

I am currently reading The Heart of Thoreau’s Journals, which is more or less an abridged version of Henry David Thoreau’s complete set of journals he kept during the course of his life. Even though he lived more than a century-and-a-half ago, his observations on life and human beings are quite keen, and there are truths he stumbled upon that are still quite relevant today. (Also, he was an introvert.)

One of my favorite passages thus far is dated December 31, 1851, in which he describes an encounter with what I call an early feminist whom he identifies only as “Mrs. S.” It is quite comical, and still quite relevant today when applied to the more militant liberal feminists we encounter today. I have highlighted my favorite parts of the journal entry.

This night I heard Mrs. S——lecture on womanhood. The most important fact about the lecture was that a woman said it, and in that respect it was suggestive. Went to see her afterward, but the interview added nothing to the previous impression, rather subtracted. She was a woman in the too common sense after all. You had to fire small charges: I did not have a finger in once, for fear of blowing away all her works and so ending the game. You had to substitute courtesy for sense and argument. It requires nothing less than a chivalric feeling to sustain a conversation with a lady. I carried her lecture for her in my pocket wrapped in her handkerchief; my pocket exhales cologne to this moment. The championess of woman’s rights still asks you to be a ladies’ man. I can’t fire a salute, even, for fear some of the guns may be shotted. I had to unshot all the guns in truth’s battery and fire powder and wadding only. Certainly the heart is only for rare occasions; the intellect affords the most unfailing entertainment. It would only do to let her feel the wind of the ball. I fear that to the last woman’s lectures will demand mainly courtesy from man.

The 2017 Final Four

I got none of them correct on my bracket. A perfect goose egg. According to ESPN, out of 18,797,085 brackets, only 657 guessed them all correctly.

Gonzaga in the Final Four for the first time ever. Coach Mark Few has been so close so many times with so many good teams, and he finally won a regional final.

Oregon is in the Final Four for the first time since 1939. That was the first year of the NCAA tournament. (I doubt they called it the “Final Four” back then.)

South Carolina is in the Final Four for the first time in school history. Before this year, South Carolina hadn’t won a single tournament game since 1973.

North Carolina is really the only one of the Final Four who is old hat. UNC is in for the 20th time. (The other 3 schools have four Final Fours combined.)

So this year we have a 1, 1, 3 and a 7 seed.

For the second straight year and 6th time in the last 8 tournaments, a team from outside the Power 5 is in the Final Four.

In its preseason poll, Sports Illustrated had them ranked this way:

Oregon #4
UNC #6
Gonzaga #9
South Carolina #77

Many of the “experts” told us to watch out for Duke after they won the ACC tournament. Duke didn’t even make the Sweet 16. They were bounced by South Carolina, who also beat Marquette, Baylor and Florida.

Gonzaga defeated South Dakota St., Northwestern, West Virginia and Xavier.

Oregon collected wins over Iona, Rhode Island, Michigan and Kansas.

North Carolina beat Texas Southern, Arkansas, Butler and Kentucky.

Me? I’d love to see Gonzaga win it all.

Sacred suffering (1 Peter 4:3-5)

The things we used to do we don’t do anymore. Jesus changes the quality of our lives. Outward conformity will not change your heart. It requires inward transformation. When we were lost, we walked in the ways of the lost. There are things as saved people we are not to do.

1. What God delivered us from in the past should not find its way into our present. We are not to bring the things of our past into our present relationship with God. When He saves us from it, we are not to go back there.

The Bible is supposed to make us a little bit uncomfortable. Married people are not to commit adultery. Single people are not to fornicate. Pornography is the hub of lust in the church and is to be avoided. To be born again means we are different. We are to avoid riotous behavior. We are not to worship something/someone other than God. In other words, we are not to seek power from an alternate source apart from God. Whatever it is you won’t give to God is your God.

2. If people never ask you why you’re different, you’re probably not. We are not to run with our “old crowd” with the intent of engaging in the same sin as before. The fact that we seem different to others is what matters to God.

3. Every one of us is going to stand before God in judgment. There are no exceptions, no exclusions, and no excuses. There is a resurrection and judgment of the just and a resurrection and judgment of the damned. Either way, there will be judgment. We will all meet God one day. If you are saved by the grace of God, you will not give an account for your sinfulness, but for the motivation (or lack thereof) for your service.

New cloud types

The World Meteorological Organization has added twelve new cloud types to its International Cloud Atlas. These are all truly remarkable works of nature, rarely seen in these parts. It’s difficult to say which is my favorite of the new inductees. For pure hilarity, I’d say the (Ci) Homogenitus, just because it will get the chemtrail wackos all stirred up. But in terms of natural wonder, I gotta go with the fluctus (pictured below).

Five for Friday

1. John Calipari makes his return to the FedEx Forum this weekend as Kentucky plays its regional semifinal game in Memphis, forcing Memphians — once again — to figure out if we’re “over” Calipari. Stop it, please. It’s been 8 years. I’m over it, already. I don’t hate him. I don’t like him, either. That leaves me ambivalent.  (Really, the only people who “love” Calipari are those where he happens to be currrently coaching.) It was great when he was at Memphis, especially those last 4 years when we were a top 10 (top 5?) program. Even though Memphis had a solid basketball pedigree before he ever arrived, we accomplished things during 2005-09 that we’d never accomplished before, and might never accomplish again. Oh well.

To look at this properly, as was pointed out in Geoff Calkins’ Commercial Appeal column, Memphis as a city is greatly improved since 2009. One man’s arrival didn’t build the city, and his departure certainly didn’t tear it down. Aside from the improvements realized around the city and across the University of Memphis campus, you have to remember that when he left, the Memphis Tigers’ basketball team was all we had. The Grizzlies were horrible. And the Tigers’ football team was even worse. Even though the Tigers’ basketball team has been knocked off its pedestal, the Grizzlies are about to make their 7th straight playoff appearance, and the football team has made 3 straight bowl appearances, won 27 games during that stretch, and beaten a ranked opponent each of the last two seasons. So if you want to go back to the Calipari years, then we’ll have to take all the rest away. No thanks.

2. There are places I visited in Europe as a young man that would not be safe to visit anymore (Paris and Munich, for example). This is a shame, because there are still places I’d like to visit. I never did go to England, but it’s not safe to do so now, and I don’t know if it will ever be.

3. To see things as they really are, without the shroud of predisposition.

4. I still have yet to play the Tennessee Lottery. I’ve always viewed the lottery as a voluntary tax on those who cannot do math. But if that’s what you want to do with your money, then don’t let me stop you. Plus — and I’m not trying to sound sanctimonious — the idea of a Powerball jackpot of $10M or $100M, or whatever those things are, does not appeal to me at all. I know there are certain freedoms that wealthy people enjoy that the rest of us don’t, but that kind of wealth seems as much a burden as anything. As it is, I’ll keep my middle class life in which I lack for nothing and enjoy a quiet contentment.

5. Not only does obscene wealth seem to be its own burden, but so does fame. Can you imagine being so famous that you can’t go out in public without risking being mobbed by fans or harassed by paparazzi? Honestly, who would want that? Let me instead enjoy my quiet anonymity along with my quiet contentment.

Notes on Revelation 20

The 7-year tribulation is divided into 42 months of false peace, 42 months of tribulation. There are 21 judgments altogether.

We are now at the 1,000-year reign of Christ.

The devil has many disguises throughout the Bible. Here, he is known as the dragon (that old serpent). In the Old Testament, we are told that Eve was deceived but Adam willfully sinned. Since that time, Satan has sought to distort the word of God.

James refers to Scripture as a mirror. We can either change the person looking into the mirror, or change the mirror. Modern Christianity has sought to change the mirror, which is what Satan wants us to do.

We are told in 20:2 that the dragon is bound for 1,000 years, which means there will be no devilish influence for 1,000 years. He will not be able to deceived the nations during this time. This will be a time of great peace and harmony, much like the time of the Garden of Eden.

We will come back to rule and to reign with Christ. Our service now will determine our service during the 1,000-year reign. This occurs before eternity.

The rest of the dead will be resurrected physically after the 1,000 years. At this time, Satan shall be turned loose. He will go out to deceive the nations. Many who are alive during the 1,000 years will be born during this time. Some of them will be deceived, in spite of having lived under Christ’s reign. Such is the depravity of man’s heart.

Many will turn against Christ even after 1,000 years of perfection. They will be devoured by fire from heaven. In other words, the battle will be short-lived. The devil will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.

The devil knows he is going to hell, which is why he’s so angry. He has but a little while to roam the earth. Hell and the lake of fire are two different places. The lake of fire is for eternity. Hell will be cast into the lake of fire. That the devil will be tormented forever is God’s vindication.

Those who do not believe in Christ will have no place  at the great white throne. When the unsaved face the great white throne judgment, books will be opened, along with the book of life, and they will be judged according to their works.

Death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire. This is also called the second death. The second death has no power over the saved. If you are not saved, you are condemned right now, and not just after 1,000 years. Only Christ can save you from your condemnation.

Whoever is not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire.

#fakenews media completely unhinged

But you knew that already, because it’s been so well documented.

You might have heard that President Trump has banned mobile devices larger than a smartphone from airline flights. But do you know why? According to the following #fakenews headlines, you’d be left scratching your head as to why the president would do such a thing. Get a load of these, then skip down and read the real reason for the ban.

Believe it or not, the New York Times, in a random act of journalism, gets it right. The real reason for the ban is that the Islamic State is in the process of developing explosives that will fit inside a laptop.

WASHINGTON — Intelligence showing that the Islamic State is developing a bomb hidden in portable electronics spurred the United States and Britain on Tuesday to bar passengers from airports in a total of 10 Muslim-majority countries from carrying laptop computers, iPads and other devices larger than a cellphone aboard direct inbound flights, two senior American counterterrorism officials said.

Two additional American officials said the explosives were designed to be hidden in laptop batteries. All four spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to publicly discuss the sensitive information.

And do you know how we gathered this intelligence? The Yemen raid that took place right after President Trump took office in which we lost a Navy SEAL (and which the left has heretofore completely discounted as having been a fruitless endeavor).

So there is a credible threat, after all. But look at the way #fakenews has reported it. This just illustrates how unhinged they are. Imagine how different the headlines would read if the circumstances were the otherwise the same, but Obama were still president.

Imagine if we had this intelligence but did not act on it, and some jihadist managed to take down an aircraft using an explosive he had hidden inside a laptop. They’d try to impeach Trump if that occurred.

Folks, I maintain that the left, and by “left” I’m referring both to the Democrat Party and #fakenews media, wouldn’t mind a terrorist attack occurring if it meant they got to pin the blame on President Trump. That’s how unhinged and partisan they have become. Trump’s election has left them bordering on insanity. The Democrat Party, its accomplices in the #fakenews media, and the lunatics who vote for them and believe the #fakenews represent the largest hate group in America, and it’s on display literally every single day.

Why do you think the Democrats have opposed President Trump on every single safety measure he has tried to put in place to protect Americans from jihadists? It has nothing to do with their adherence to the Constitution — they don’t even know nor care what’s in it — nor is it about fighting racism or xenophobia. They are trying to hinder the president’s ability to protect us while at the same time making it easier to jihadists to do what they do. They want chaos so they can undermine the president. This is who Democrats are and what they do.

Injury update

Yesterday morning, I ran my first 10K since tearing my right calf muscle two months ago. It was slow and difficult, but it helped me meet a goal. My time was 58 minutes. My usual 10K time is 54-56 minutes. But I’m not disappointed. I deliberately slowed my pace in order to get the miles. And I was quite pleased with the miles.

I am running in the Rock-and-Roll Marathon in Nashville on April 29 (participating in the half-marathon). I am nowhere close to being in half-marathon shape. Recovering from an injury is tough. It doesn’t take long to get out of shape. I’ve been back to running for about 2 1/2 weeks now. It’s just now starting to come back to me. I’m going to run the half-marathon knowing I won’t be fully prepared. I’ll be mostly prepared, but probably not fully.

I am limiting my number of weekly miles this training season. It may seem counter-productive, but I cannot afford to re-injure myself at this point. So I’m taking precautions and trying to find a balance. I’m running two or three 5K’s a week, plus one “long run.” The long run will (Lord willing) increase a little very week. Last week’s long run was 5 miles. This week’s was 10K. Next week I’m aiming for 7 miles, and so on. I’d love to get in one training run of 11 miles. I’d feel a great deal better going into the half-marathon with an 11-miler under my belt.

So far, my injury hasn’t bothered me. I’m running with a compression sleeve (and will be long-term), avoiding running back-to-back days, and keeping my weekly miles under 20, since I believe I did myself in by running too many miles in too short a period (nearly 25 miles in a 7-day period when the injury originally occurred). At any rate, that’s where I am. I’ve got 5 1/2 weeks to prepare for my 4th half-marathon. It’s always a challenge, but more so this year.